Early voting has gotten underway in Tennessee and a new poll from Vanderbilt University shows that former Governor Phil Bredesen holds a narrow lead over Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the state’s U.S. Senate race.
The poll was released Thursday and shows Bredesen with a one percent lead over Blackburn. In the gubernatorial race, Republican businessman Bill Lee leads former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) by 11 percent.
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The poll surveyed 800 registered voters in Tennessee and was conducted October 8-13 via landline and cell phone. Vanderbilt said the margin of error is ±4.9.
“The bottom line is that Tennessee’s Senate race will be determined by which candidate is better able to turn out their base, as well as any national waves that occur—blue or otherwise,” said John Geer [vanderbilt.edu], Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, who co-directs the Vanderbilt Poll with Josh Clinton, Abby and Jon Winkelried Professor of Political Science.
When asked who they would vote for if the election were held that day, 44 percent would vote for Bredesen, while 43 percent of voters said they would vote for Blackburn.
The poll found that women prefer Bredesen 49-37, while men prefer Blackburn 50-37.
Bredesen is also more popular among Republicans than Blackburn is among Democrats—13 percent of Republicans say they plan to vote for him, while just 5 percent of Democrats say they prefer Blackburn, according to the poll. Independent voters are evenly split.
“Our poll results show that this race is still very much a toss-up,” Clinton said. “Eight percent of voters are still undecided, and depending on who those voters choose, and who turns out to vote, this race could easily go either way.”
In the governor’s race, 48 percent said they would choose Lee and 37 percent said they would choose Dean.
However, the percentage of undecideds in the governor’s race is still high at 12 percent. As a result, there could be a lot of movement between the candidates between now and Election Day.
Independents, who were highly favorable about Dean in May, now gravitate toward Lee 46 percent to 35 percent. The poll found that women are evenly split on the two candidates, while men prefer Lee 56 percent to 31 percent.
Read more about the poll here.