A poll released by Axios-Survey Monkey on Tuesday shows that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) leads Democrat Phil Bredesen by 14 points in the U.S. Senate general election, 55 percent to 41 percent among registered voters.
Among likely voters, Blackburn’s lead over Bredesen is even greater, 58 percent to 40 percent.
Axios-Survey Monkey conducted similar polls in 13 states where contested Senate races are underway. The overall polling reveals that Democrats will have an uphill climb in attempting to capture control of the U.S. Senate in the midterm 2018 election cycle. Democrats are hampered in their Senate races by having to retain seats in 10 states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, including five that he carried by double digits.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill said that he is somewhat skeptical of the poll results due to the fact that the survey was conducted over a nearly three week period while typical polling is concluded over 3-4 days. “Nevertheless,” Gill noted, “it appears that Blackburn and Bredesen are both consolidating their party base, with each capturing over 90 percent support from those identifying as Republicans and Democrats respectively.”
“Tennessee is a red state that Donald Trump carried handily in 2016 so if Marsha secures the Republican vote and competes effectively for independents she should have a solid margin, which is exactly what this poll indicates she is doing,” Gill said. “The Senate confirmation battle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a gift for Marsha and reminds Republicans what is at stake — not only in this nomination fight but the next one that is likely to come during the next several years. Neither Blackburn or Bredesen will have a vote this time, but if Tennesseans want another conservative Trump nominee to get confirmed next time the winner of this race WILL have a vote.
“As Democrats line up to oppose someone as brilliant, credentialed and superb as Kavanaugh, Phil Bredesen has never shown the courage or political independence to counter his own political party in the past and I don’t believe most Tennesseans will buy the idea that he will stand up to the intense pressures that the next Senate confirmation fight will bring to bear. He’s given a half million dollars in donations to Democrats and nothing to Republicans, so his claims of political bipartisanship are not evident from his actual track record.”
The Axios-Survey Monkey poll was conducted of more than 12,000 respondents in the 13 most closely watched Senate races, and included results from Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, in addition to Tennessee.
The results reported from those 12 other races, all of which have been more heavily polled than the Tennessee senate race, closely track the results from other recent polls, as shown on the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls.
The methodology used by Axios-Survey Monkey differs from that of standard polling.
First, it was conducted over a longer period of time, covering three weeks beginning June 11 and ending July 2.
Second, instead of using live or automated phone calls to land line and cell phones, the Axios/Survey Monkey Poll is primarily online.
The Axios-Survey Monkey Poll of Tennessee had 1,010 respondents, and a margin of error of 4.5 percent.