Madeline Rogero’s release of some favorable (to her) poll numbers in the mayoral race this week prompted some counterpunching from her opponents, as Mark Padgett and Ivan Harmon both cited somewhat contradictory polls of their own. Rogero hired the nationally respected, Democratic-affiliated outfit Public Policy Polling to survey 600 likely Knoxville voters. The poll, conducted July 18-20, showed Rogero with a commanding plurality of 40 percent, Harmon (the only Republican in the race) at 20 percent, and Padgett at 13 percent. Late entrant Joe Hultquist was at 4 percent, with the unknown Bo Bennett remaining unknown at 1 percent.
Rogero’s trumpeting of the numbers pushed Padgett to disclose his own internal polling, which he says shows him just 7 points behind Rogero, 24 to 31 percent. He said the poll was of 400 likely voters. Harmon, meanwhile, said that a poll of 3,000 voters way back in May put him at a close second to Rogero. All of which means what, exactly? For one thing, Rogero’s front-runner status can now be upgraded from presumed to certified. But even her poll showed 22 percent of respondents still undecided. No matter whose numbers you trust more, there appears to be plenty of room for either Harmon or Padgett to try to keep Rogero from breaking 50 percent in the Sept. 27 primary. That would force a run-off in November between the top two vote-getters.