Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) has a huge 58 percent to 11 percent lead over former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08) in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), according to a new Tennessee Star Poll.
Dr. Rolando Toyos is a distant third with three percent support.
The poll results have a small silver lining for Fincher. Among those who have an opinion about him, he has a 2 to 1 favorability rating. But a massive 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters do not know who he is. This gives Fincher an opportunity to positively define himself to those who do not know who he is, with sufficient financial resources.
But Fincher has a lot of catching up to do.
Blackburn has an even higher favoribility rating: 61 percent of Tennessee Republicans have a favorable opinion of her while only 13 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
The poll of 1,028 Tennessee Republican likely primary voters was conducted between December 12 and December 18 for The Tennessee Star by Triton Research using IVR technology (automated phone response), and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.
The respondents were balanced between the three regions of Tennessee according to recent Republican primary voting behavior: 34 percent from East Tennessee, 39 percent from Middle Tennessee, and 27 percent from West Tennessee.
Blackburn leads Fincher in all three regions: by 52 percent to 7 percent in East Tennessee, by 65 percent to 5 percent in Middle Tennessee, and by 56 percent to 24 percent in West Tennessee.
That Blackburn is over 50 percent in all three regions–and especially in West Tennessee, which Fincher represented for two terms in Congress–presents the Gospel singing former Congressman from Frog Jump, Tennessee with a significant obstacle to overcome between now and primary election day in August 2018.
The same poll showed Donald Trump’s approval among Tennessee Republicans remains sky high with an 84 percent favorability rating, and that Bob Corker has a record-low favorability rating of 22 percent, compared to a 60 percent unfavorable rating.
The poll also showed that Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) has jumped out to a 10 point lead in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination over her nearest rival, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd.
On the Democratic side, former Gov. Phil Bredesen is the only Democratic candidate still in the race, after James Mackler announced last week he is withdrawing from the race and setting up a SuperPAC to oppose Marsha Blackburn.
UP NEXT: A look at the six key issues driving the 2018 Tennessee races (beginning Tuesday of next week)
You can read the full top line poll results here:171219 Triton - Dec 2017 TN Star GOP Primary Survey - Topline Results