By FOX News Radio's Jeff Monosso in Memphis, TN
Following the GOP primary in Michigan last week, I flew straight to Tennessee, a Super Tuesday state. I wanted to check the pulse of folks there, to see what's on their minds before they go to the polls. My first stop was Memphis.
I headed straight for the famed Beale Street, which is lined with blues clubs and some of the best BBQ joints in the world. I went to Blues City BBQ, across from B.B. Kings, for ribs and sweet iced tea. It's the best I've ever had.
I met folks from all walks of life in Memphis. Some were out of work, some were struggling to get by, and others were not. But 100% of the people; a mix of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats that I spoke with tell me the economy is the number one issue facing Tennessee and the country. Memphis has a 7% unemployment rate. Tennessee has an almost 9% unemployment rate.
Rising gas prices also have folks on edge. I filled up in Memphis at almost $3.60 per gallon. Now that's not a lot money for Elvis; if he were still alive, and some say he is, to fill up his mother's gas guzzling Pink Cadillac, but for regular folks who we talked to, $3.60 per gallon hurts, and cuts into other household spending.
58 delegates are up for grabs in Tennessee. But it's a proportional primary, so delegates will be split up among candidates. The latest Real Clear Politics polling average shows the race to be a tight one between Santorum, Romney, & Gingrich here with Santorum having a slight edge over Romney.
That could be why Mitt Romney made a campaign stop in Knoxville Sunday, in the state where he's spent little to no time in, and where he came in third in the 2008 GOP Primary.
One thing is clear. Voters here are unhappy with the economy and are nervous about the future because of it. That mindset will be a factor when folks in Tennessee head to the polls on Super Tuesday.
Listen HERE to some of Jeff Monosso's reporting in Tennessee: