U.S. Senate campaign

ETSU poll finds Blackburn-Bredesen tied at 44%

A new poll by Eastern Tennessee State University finds Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen tied at 44%. That number is fairly consistent with what Bredesen has been polling at in a series of other public polls released this week, but far below the level of support (generally around 50%) that Blackburn has been receiving.

ETSU is unrated by the polling site FiveThirtyEight.com, while the other surveys released this week had ratings ranging from A to B.

The new poll also found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee was leading Democrat Karl Dean by 47% to 35%.

The survey’s other findings, 52% sayid state is on the right track, while 20% think it’s on the wrong track. Seventy-three percent of Republicans were more likely to say the state was headed in the right direction, compared with 38% of Democrats and 42% of independents.’

The poll of 495 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points based on a projected turnout of 55%.

 

The Tennessean was blamed for boosting Blackburn profile in 2001

July 21, 2001

Political jokesters have taken to handing out placards saying “Annoy the Tennessean. Vote Blackburn.” But the vitriol against the Nashville daily didn’t always from from that direction.

In 2001, Democrats and Republicans alike blamed The Tennessean for unquestioningly boosting Blackburn’s profile during the income tax fight at the state Capitol.

Here’s an excerpt of a fake press release written on March 13, 2001:

 

GANNETT ANNOUNCES NAME CHANGE FOR NASHVILLE DAILY

In a highly anticipated move, the Gannett Corporation announced that the name of the daily newspaper in Nashville would no longer be the Tennessean. The company noted its intention to change the name of the hard-hitting news daily to the Marsha Blackburn Newsletter.

Editor Frank Sutherland welcomed the change by noting, “The Tennessean has always been interested in in-depth coverage of the issues that are important to the lives of Middle Tennesseans. We believe that the mission of the newspaper can be better served by being forthright with our readers and letting them know what our newspaper stands for. The recent article on our favorite Senator (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha) illustrates the hard line our news team takes. We lob the softballs, ahem, I mean ask the tough questions, and I believe it shows in our coverage. We believe in pressing our newsmakers for details, and calling their hand when they lack specifics. That’s why we thought the name change appropriate.”

There are expected to be no noticeable changes to the daily other than a mandatory photo of Marsha Blackburn front page above the fold in every edition…

Bredesen launches final ads of Senate bid

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen has launched what he is calling his final ads of the campaign. There’s a 60-second version and a 30-second version, but the message is essentially the same:

“You have a clear choice. If you like Washington the way it is, partisan shouting and finger-pointing, I’m not your guy,” Bredesen says in the longer ad. “Congresswoman Blackburn has been steeped in that Washington way for 16 years and is good at it. That’s not my world.”

See the full transcript and the shorter version of the spot after the jump:

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Democratic independent spending closing gap on GOP?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican Senate nominee in Tennessee, speaks at a Farm Bureau event in Franklin on Aug. 9, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The heavy spending by independent groups in the Tennessee Senate race shows little sign of abating despite a series of polls suggesting that Republican Marsha Blackburn has opened a lead on Democrat Phil Bredesen.

About $12.7 million has been spent in Tennessee so far this week alone ($6.9 million by Democratic groups, $5.8 million by Republican ones), while total outside spending reached $56.4 million.

As of Thursday morning, groups favoring Blackburn have spent $31.1 million in Tennessee, while those backing Bredesen had poured in $25.3 million.

The biggest spenders after the jump:

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Fox poll suggests widening lead for Blackburn

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a business forum in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A Fox News poll shows Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn with 50% support, up 2 percentage points from the last time the survey was conducted in early October. Meanwhile, the poll found support for Democrat Phil Bredesen dropped 2 points to 41%.

The poll conducted for Fox by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Co. gets an A rating from the polling site FiveThirtyEight. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

(UPDATE: A CNN/SSRS poll — rated A-minus by FiveThirty Eight — finds Blackburn with a 4-point lead over Bredesen after previously finding the Democrat with a 5-point lead in September. Two other polls show Blackburn with 8-point leads: Emerson College which is rated at B+, and Cygnal, which gets a B.)

Blackburn’s lead in the Fox poll comes despite 55% of Democrats saying they are extremely interested in the election, compared with 48% of Republicans who say the same. At the same time, 92% of Democrats said they support Bredesen, while 87% of Republicans said they support Blackburn.

Approval of President Donald Trump was 58%, while 39% said the disapproved.

The poll included a sample of 54% self-identified Republicans and 35% Democrats.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee had a 54%-37% lead over Democrat Karl Dean, according to the poll.

NBC poll shows Blackburn up by 5 points

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new NBC News/Marist poll shows Republican Marsha Blackburn leading Democrat Phil Bredesen among likely voters by 5 percentage points, which is within the survey’s 5.7-point margin of error.

That 51% to 46% lead narrows to just 3 percentage points among all registered voters, illustrating the importance of voter turnout in deciding Tuesday’s election. The NBC/Marist survey gets an A rating from the polling site FiveThirtyEight.com.

Bredesen led by 2 points the last time NBC polled Tennessee in August. Since then, Bredesen has been hit by a barrage of negative ads by Blackburn and independent groups. Democratic groups have since started to pour in their own attack ads, but have yet to close the spending gap.

UPDATE: An online survey conducted by Republican polling firm Vox Populi found Blackburn with a 53%-47% lead over Bredesen. The last time Vox polled Tennessee in September, it found Bredesen with a 51%-49% advantage over Blackburn. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, and gets a B rating from FiveThirtyEight.com.

One major change in the two NBC polls is the sample: 43% identified as Republicans in the October survey, while just 35% did in the previous one (the percentage of Democrats was similar, with 27% in October and 26% in August). Perhaps in a related finding, President Trump’s approval rating went from 47% in August to 56% in the new poll.
Blackburn’s lead came despite a steep increase in her disapproval rating. The 45% who had  favorable impression of her was down 1 point from August, but the 46% who saw her unfavorably was 10 points higher than in the last poll. Bredesen’s favorability also dropped, but 52% still had a favorable impression, while 39% had an unfavorable one (that +13 rating was down from +39 in the previous poll).

The NBC poll had Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee leading Democrat Karl Dean by 17 points.

Taylor Swift doubles down support for Bredesen

Taylor Swift is drawing another round of national attention for her support of Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen. This time it’s for an Instagram post featuring a photo of the pop megastar and her mother posing in front of a horse trailer with a Bredesen for Senate sign attached to it.

“These two Tennessee women voted for the candidate who has proven himself to be reasonable and trustworthy,” Swift writes in the post. “We want leadership, not fear-based extremism.”

Swift had previously broken her silence on political matters by endorsing Bredesen — and speaking out against Blackburn.

“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift said in the earlier post.

Bredesen touts role in sending Tennessee Guard to border

A new ad from Democrat Phil Bredesen’s Senate campaign touts his decision to send Tennessee National Guard troops to the border when he was governor in 2006.

“When the president said he needed help to secure the border, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen didn’t wait to be asked. And he didn’t play any politics,” the narrator says in the ad. “Governor Bredesen took immediate action and sent 1,600 Tennessee National Guard volunteers to the border.”

The ad follows a commercial run by Republican Marsha Blackburn criticizing Bredesen for suggesting that a caravan of migrants doesn’t pose a security threat to the strongest country in the world. Blackburn’s ad says the caravan includes “gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East. Possibly even terrorists.”

 

Blackburn decries ‘angry mob’ while Bredesen supporters look to turn out African-American vote

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn shake hands after the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

As Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn makes a big media push about what she calls a “liberal angry mob” for disrupting a weekend rally with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an independent group called the Black Progressive Action Coalition has jumped into the contest, spending more than $2.7 million on canvassing and direct mail in its support of Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Early voting has been highest so far in Shelby and Davidson counties, the state’s largest in terms of overall and African-American populations. Bredesen will need to carry both counties by large margins and also peel off traditionally Republican voters in other parts of the state in order to win next week’s election. Blackburn’s efforts will be focused on trying to prevent Republicans who gave President Donald Trump a 26-point victory in Tennessee in 2016 from crossing over to support Bredesen.

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Trump confirms Sunday rally in Chattanooga

President Donald Trump has confirmed his final series of rallies before the Nov. 6 election, including a third visit to Tennessee on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.

After stops in Nashville and Johnson City, Trump’s final visit will be in Chattanooga on Sunday evening.

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