Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[160] MTSU POLL: Blackburn, Dean and Bredesen take early leads in key primaries

Republican gubernatorial primaries and general-election races look tighter
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Marsha Blackburn leads in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Karl Dean leads in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and Phil Bredesen probably would be leading in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary if he were a declared candidate, the latest MTSU Poll finds.
Meanwhile, nobody has established a clear lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary or the general-election races for governor and Senate.
“Some frontrunners seem to have emerged in some of the primary races, but it’s much too early to forecast winners, even in the primaries that presently look lopsided,” said Dr. Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.
“All of these candidates have double-digit percentages of undecided voters, both among voters from their own parties and from across the Tennessee electorate as a whole. Any of the races easily could shift during the months ahead.”
Here’s a synopsis of the standings in each race, according to the poll:
·      In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, 55 percent of Republican voters approve or strongly approve of Blackburn, the representative for Tennessee's 7th Congressional District. Andy Ogles trails with 19 percent approval, as does Larry Crim, with 12 percent approval.  Blackburn’s lead is statistically significant, given the poll’s error margin among self-identified Republicans.
·      In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, former Nashville mayor Karl Dean has the approval of 49 percent of Democrats. The only other Democratic gubernatorial candidate considered in the poll, Craig Fitzhugh, drew a significantly smaller 26 percent approval.
·      In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, 60 percent of Democratic voters approve or strongly approve of Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor. Thirty-two percent express such approval of Andy Berke, and 28 percent express such approval of James Mackler. Bredesen’s lead is outside the error margin for the subgroup who self-identified as Democrats. But while both Bredesen and Berke have said they are thinking of running, neither man has declared himself a candidate. Mackler was the only declared Democratic candidate for Senate included in the poll.
·      The Republican gubernatorial primary offers the least clarity for now. Diane Black, Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District representative, led in the sample with 33 percent approval. But rival Republican Beth Harwell, speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, had the approval of a statistically indistinguishable 32 percent of the sample. Randy Boyd came in at 28 percent approval, and Mae Beavers at 21 percent approval. But the poll’s error margin for self-described Republican voters was too wide to indicate which, if any, of these candidates was leading the pack. The poll could determine only that Bill Lee, at 15 percent approval among Republicans, was significantly behind the approval ratings for Harwell and Black.
·      In the race for Tennessee governor among all Tennessee voters – Democrats, Republicans, independents and others – Harwell, a Republican, and Dean, a Democrat, both attract 23 percent approval, followed closely by three Republicans: Black, at 22 percent approval; Boyd, at 17 percent approval; and Beavers, at 15 percent approval. The poll’s overall error margin of 4 percentage points could not estimate which, if any, of these candidates was ahead. It could, however, identify the remaining two candidates, Fitzhugh and Lee, as significantly trailing Harwell, Dean and Black.
·      Finally, in the race for U.S. Senate among all Tennessee voters, approval for Blackburn, a Republican, stands at 37 percent, statistically indistinguishable from approval of Bredesen, a Democrat, at 34 percent. Both polled significantly higher on approval than did Berke (18 percent), Ogles (14 percent), Mackler (13 percent), and Crim (7 percent).
All results are based on questions that presented the declared or potential candidates for each race one at a time, in a random order, and asked whether the respondent strongly favored, favored, neither favored nor opposed, opposed, or strongly opposed that person’s being elected. The U.S. Senate results did not include results for Republican Stephen Fincher, who declared his candidacy near the end of the poll’s field period and too late to gather meaningful data about attitudes toward him.
Based on interviews with 600 registered Tennessee voters reached via randomly selected cell and landline phone numbers, the scientifically valid poll was conducted Oct. 16-23 and has an error margin of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

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[159] ‘Shark Tank’ star John, magician Giang push entrepreneurship at MTSU 'Start It Up' event

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A packed house listened Friday (Oct. 27) as “Shark Tank” star Daymond John and online magician Vinh Giang encouraged them to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs and business leaders during the Start It Up Conference at Embassy Suites.

Hosted by MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business, the sold-out conference targeted business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout the Midstate looking for personal and professional development and a more passionate approach to their careers.

John, the self-made multimillionaire CEO of the FUBU fashion brand and now a regular on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” bragged about his failures, his community and lessons learned along the way. 

Before his presentation, he acknowledged Saturday's White Lives Matter rally set for downtown Murfreesboro, sharing this advice to him as a youth from his mother: "Always be pro-black but not anti-anything else. It doesn't matter what color you are, we all have the same damn problems."

In a presentation peppered with photos from the origins of FUBU and a hip hop and R&B soundtrack, John shared “shark points” on what he learned on his rise as an entrepreneur. 

FUBU sprang from John's love of hip hop and his devotion to the emerging genre as he grew up in Queens. As he saw it grow from city to city, everyone "had on the uniform of hip hop."

“And I said to myself,” he said, “who sent out the memo?”

At that point, he said he set what would later become his first Shark Point: Set a goal. He decided to make his living in hip hop, but not as an artist. 

“I couldn't sing dance or produce, but I knew what I was going to do,” he said. 

Preceding John’s keynote presentation was Giang, co-creator of the online platform Encyclopedia of Magic. Giang spoke about perspective, thinking differently and goal setting, among others.

“Failure is a part of the journey in entrepreneurship,” said Giang, recalling how he turned his passion for magic into his profitable online enterprise, also known as 52kards.

Magic, he said, is a perfect metaphor for talking about the challenges facing entrepreneurs. “Magic is just a problem you cannot solve,” he said. “What is entrepreneurship but continuous problem solving?”

He also stressed the importance of creating a successful mindset through the choices you make in life. 

“You are a direct reflection of the top five people you spend time with,” he said. “You can choose who will become in the future by who you spend time with in the present.”

Without a mentor, John said he wasn't prepared to navigate the process of getting investment capital. Twenty-seven banks turned him down for a loan. 

But his mother believed in him. Sensing potential, John said his mother mortgaged their house for $100,000 — and “it was only worth $75,000,” he said. The money and the house became the launch pad for FUBU. 

“You become what you think about most of the time,” he said. “If you aren't in charge of the goals you set, you let other people set them for you.”

In recalling the beginnings of his business, Giang talked about the need to be aware of "change blindness," or failing to recognize opportunities before you. 

"It took the perspective of an online business person that showed me the opportunity of a lifetime within my grasp," he said of the creation of his magic site. Innovation is at the heart of entrepreneurship, he said, adding that requires putting together two perspectives “that have never been together before.”

Far too often in our lives, he said, “if you look ahead to the challenges before you, you make the assumption that the challenges are impossible.”

[158] Legendary musician Daniels to sign copies of new memoir Nov. 2 at MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Legendary country music artist Charlie Daniels, one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, will sign copies of his new book, “Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir,” at Middle Tennessee State University this week.

Daniels will sign from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at Phillips Bookstore in the Student Union Building, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

The public is invited to attend. Copies of the book, which was released Oct. 24 and shows the softer, personal side of Daniels, will be available for sale. He will only be signing copies of the new book while on campus.

To find parking near the Student Union, visit http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. All visitors are requested to use parking meters or obtain a permit from the Parking and Transportation Services office at 1403 East Main St. or print a visitor pass at https://mtsu.t2hosted.com. Visitor permits are $2 per day.

The Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center is named for the Danielses. Through Daniels’ Journey Home Project foundation, which assists other not-for-profits in securing funds to benefit veterans and assist in their transition from uniform into civilian life, gifts totaling $120,000 have been provided to the center.

The center is located on the first floor of the Keathley University Center and assists more than 900 student veterans and family members on campus this fall.
The center’s goal is to assist current military, veterans and family members in their move from military to college, then from college to a successful career.

In the book, Daniels travels the path from post-Great Depression childhood to when he and the Charlie Daniels Band performed for millions as one of the most successful groups of all time, and what he has learned along the way. The book provides insights into the musicians who orbited Daniels’ world, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette and many more.

Daniels, who turned 81 Oct. 28, has seen his career span nearly 60 years. He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2016. He shares a life lesson for all in the book:

“Walk onstage with a positive attitude,” he writes. “Your troubles are your own and are not included in the ticket price. Some nights you have more to give than others, but put it all out there every show. You’re concerned for the people who showed up, not the ones who didn’t. So give them a show and … never look at the empty seats!”

For more on the event and the veterans center, call 615-904-8347 or visit http://www.mtsu.edu/military/index.php.