The race will likely be decided in Middle Tennessee:
In July, Mr. Corker led in East and Middle Tennessee and was within the margin of error in West Tennessee against Rep. Ford.
The September survey shows Rep. Ford ahead by 18 points in West Tennessee, slightly ahead in Middle Tennessee and halving Mr. Corker's lead in the eastern part of the state.
"Middle Tennessee's the battleground," Mr. Coker said.
More men support Corker, while more women support Ford. Not a surprise. More of a surprise is the remarkable change in favorability and unfavorability ratings:
Respondents in the latest Mason-Dixon survey have a more positive view of Mr. Ford than Mr. Corker, a significant shift from the July poll results. Mr. Corker has seen his negatives double while positive reaction has remained unchanged. Mr. Ford has increased his positive identification as his unfavorable number remained virtually unchanged. More respondents in the September survey had an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Corker than of Mr. Ford.
Dr. Geer said some of Rep. Ford's negative ads may have helped him overcome Mr. Corker's lead. He said the poll results indicate that the former Chattanooga mayor's negative ads have not been very effective, and that Rep. Ford has been able to respond to Mr. Corker's criticisms.
Some on the right have grumbled about the poll results and said the numbers are not accurate in terms of party representation, but in all recent polls, aside from the wacky Zogby/Wall-Street Journal poll (they showed Corker 5% ahead of Ford - I think this same polling organization said John Kerry would win Tennessee in 2004) Ford has either tied or been in the lead. This is amazing considering what a longshot campaign many, including myself, expected Ford to have. Ford has run a seriously strong, focused campaign so far, while Corker has fallen apart.
New hires and acquisitions, like Sen. Lamar Alexander's chief of staff, will help Corker's campaign, so the race can easily turn in the other direction. But for now the momentum is with Ford.
I've never exactly been a big fan of his, but even though I disagree on many of his votes and positions, there's no doubt he would be a far better senator than the Republican currently in the seat or the one who wants to replace him. He would help shatter the ever-present concept that a Republican can win a major campaign in a red state merely by saying "liberal liberal liberal liberal" as fast as they can. He'd also be a vote for a Democratic Majority Leader. Control of the Senate could come down to 1 seat. 1 vote. 1 dollar. Maybe that will be yours.