Vanderbilt poll: Bill Lee popular as he enters office

Poll: Marsha Blackburn has much less public support
Posted at 8:56 AM, Dec 13, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor-elect Bill Lee will enter office with a strong favorability rating, according to a Vanderbilt University poll.

According to the poll, which was released Thursday, Lee has a favorability rating of 57 percent. Only 22 percent of registered voters hold an unfavorable view.

The poll also found some of his initiatives, including expanding vocational training, has support.

Health care, opioids still a concern

Thirty percent of Tennesseans named health care as the state’s top priority. Another 20 percent recommended it as the state’s second-highest priority.

For the first time in the poll’s history, it surpassed the economy and education as residents’ top priority.

“The one worry Bill Lee must deal with is health care, which has risen in importance to Tennesseans,” said poll co-director Josh Clinton [], Abby and Jon Winkelried Professor of Political Science. “Although the two are related, health care now takes precedence above the economy to voters here.”

Opioid addiction also remains a serious concern with 86 percent of Tennesseans characterizing it as an emergency or a major problem, while 43 percent say they personally know someone affected by it.

Approval ratings for Trump, Haslam & Blackburn

President Trump has a 52 percent approval rating in the state, which Vanderbilt says is in line with previous polls. Outgoing Governor Bill Haslam remains the most popular politician in the state, with a 61 percent approval rating.

Senators Alexander and Corker stand at 48 percent and 44 percent, respectively – also in line with previous polling.

Congress, however, remains unpopular with just 26 percent approval. The state legislature has a much more positive approval rating at 54 percent.

Meanwhile, the poll found that Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn has much less public support. Only 45 percent of Tennesseans had a favorable view of her, with 50 percent holding an unfavorable view.
Political science professor John Geer noted that this is particularly unusual because her opponent, former Governor Phil Bredesen, received a favorability rating of 54 percent, with 34 percent unfavorable – suggesting many voted for her despite having more favorable views of Bredesen.

“Perhaps the Kavanaugh confirmation gave many Republicans and Independents enough reason to vote for Blackburn, despite their reservations,” said Geer.

Vanderbilt said the poll of 1,004 demographically representative registered voters was conducted November 19 through December 6 and covered a variety of state and national issues. The margin of error is ±4.0.

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