Poll finds Bredesen ahead of Fincher, trailing Blackburn in U.S. Senate matchups

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn leads former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen 50.7 percent to 39.7 percent in a recent poll commissioned by Tennessee Star of prospective voters in hypothetical matchup for the general U.S. Senate election. The poll also found that Bredesen has a lead – 41.5 percent to 38.2 percent – in a match with former Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher as the GOP nominee.

From the Star’s report:

The automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,004 likely Tennessee voters in the November 2018 general election was conducted for The Tennessee Star by Triton Research between January 21 and January 24 and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Forty-six percent of poll respondents were Republicans, 25 percent were Democrats, and 27 percent were Independents.

…Only 5 percent respondents in the poll were African-American, which is lower than historic turnouts among African-Americans in Tennessee general elections where African-American voters comprise between 10 percent and 12 percent of all votes cast.

If the poll results were weighted to reflect a general election voting population that is 11 percent, Blackburn’s margin over Bredesen drops to 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

The Star story includes commentary from former Nashville conservative talk show host Steve Gill, who notes that both Republicans (especially Fincher) currently lack as much statewide name recognition as Bredesen while, on the other hand, Bredesen could benefit from a strong Democratic turnout (especially of the under-sampled black voters).

“Blackburn will also need to clearly define Bredesen as one who will toe the line with the liberal, national Democratic Party if she want to keep or widen that margin,” Gill continues.

“Bredesen will portray himself in the mold of a moderate to conservative Democrat and has said that the Democrat Senator he would model himself after is West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. That means Blackburn will need to make it clear that a ‘Manchin Democrat’ is one who voted AGAINST the Trump tax cuts, AGAINST confirmation of conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and FOR liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, among other things. A “Manchin Democrat” would also put liberal New York Senator Chuck Schumer in control of the U.S. Senate. None of that will appeal to voters in Red State Tennessee,” Gill notes.

Note: The results differ from a poll Oct. 20-22 by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group that found Bredesen leading Blackburn, 46 percent to 41 percent. Says a Bredesen spokesperson: “We figure nothing has changed substantively since then.”

5 Responses to Poll finds Bredesen ahead of Fincher, trailing Blackburn in U.S. Senate matchups

  • Molly Mann says:

    What was the specific question that was asked the voters, or was this strictly name recognition?

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      “If the election were held today, who would be your choice for U.S. Senator from Tennessee from these two candidates? Republican Marsha Blackburn/Democrat Phil Bredesen/Don’t Know, Not Sure”

      “If the election were held today, who would be your choice for U.S. Senator from Tennessee from these two candidates? Republican Stephen Fincher/Democrat Phil Bredesen/Don’t Know, Not Sure”

      “If the election were held today. . . [etc.] from these three candidates? Republican Marsha Blackburn/Democrat Phil Bredesen/Independent Clay Travis/Don’t Know, Not Sure”

      “If the election were held today. . . [etc.] from these three candidates? Republican Stephen Fincher/Democrat Phil Bredesen/Independent Clay Travis/Don’t Know, Not Sure”

      The campaign hasn’t begun so, of course, the responses were based “strictly [on] name recognition” but in the case of Blackburn and Bredesen a very high percentage of respondents know the people as well as the names. Of course, identifying Bredesen or anyone else as a Democrat makes them virtually unelectable in most of Tennessee so at first blush one might say the poll is unfair except for the fact that he IS A DEMOCRAT!

  • Henry Walker says:

    You should point out the Tennessee Star is not a real newspaper but a right-wing newsletter composed entirely of alt-right “news” and commentary. It’s basically an electronic version of Steve Gill’s radio show.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      The Tennessee Star is “alt-right” in the same way as Bredesen or Democrats are “Communists.” Having now done it, I really can’t see the joy people get out of mindless name calling.

  • Steve Gill says:

    The Tennessee Star is no more “right wing” than the Tennessean is “left wing” (and the Tennessean is composed entirely of leftwing news and commentary), and presumably the “not a real newspaper” would apply to the Tennessean as well based on the limited impact, declining subscriptions and readership, and staff layoffs and reductions in “pages”. Interesting that the adjectives “left wing” and “liberal” are never applied by liberals to the media outlets that fit their own views. With nearly 6 million views in one year of operation, I think the Tennessee Star will hold its own against the “real” newspapers of this state.

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