The Tennessean and the Chattanooga Times Free Press team up to run a state-wide poll of registered voters to find that Bush has a 16% lead over Kerry in Tennessee.

Bush would do a better job handling the war in Iraq, the issue of terrorism and
homeland security, and issues related to the economy, poll respondents
said.

Kerry, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, did his best on the economy
question but still lagged Bush by 8 points on that issue.

And this is a survey of registered voters rather than likely voters, so the poll probably understates Republican votes.
But even more surprising is the fact that Kerry isn’t even carrying the usual Democrat strongholds:

The new poll shows Bush leading Kerry 50% to 39% among women.

Bush wins in all three divisions of the Volunteer State, with Kerry closing in but still six points behind in Democratic-leaning West Tennessee, according to the poll. Kerry is far more popular with African-Americans, pulling support from 83% of
respondents.

But lagging in West Tennessee may indicate Kerry has not yet solidified the black vote in Shelby County and is not winning points with rural voters, Coker said.

”Rural Democrats are less likely to embrace Kerry than a Clinton or a Gore,” Coker said.

With 44 days to go until election day, Kerry is so far behind that it will take an act of God for him to make a run for the state.
Better news: if the presidential race is still seemingly “in the bag” on election day, Democrat turnout will be lower than usual, giving tight state-level races like Jim Jamieson for representative for district 89 a needed boost. Who knows, if everything turns out right perhaps Republicans will take control of the house this fall.
Cross posted to Memphis Red Blogs.