A recent poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University confirms what The Tennessee Star Poll reported last month: President Donald Trump is by far the most popular elected official among Republican voters in Tennessee, and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) is not particularly popular.
Among Republicans, 86 percent of likely Tennessee Republican voters approved of President Trump’s job performance in The Tennessee Star Poll released on June 6:
When asked “How would you rate the job performance of President Donald Trump,” 86 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee said they approve of his job performance, while only 11 percent said they disapprove, a remarkable 75 percent margin of approval over disapproval.
In the MTSU Poll, which measured trust, 77 percent of Tennessee Republican voters surveyed say they trust President Trump, while only 40 percent say they trust Senator Corker.
The Tennessee Star Poll was conducted of 1,007 likely Republican primary voters in Tennesseee. The MTSU Poll was taken of 627 residents of Tennessee, 193 of whom were Republicans, 153 were Democrats, 139 were Independents, and 78 said they were “Not Political.”
Among all those surveyed by the MTSU Poll, 38 percent say they trust President Trump, while only 28 percent say they trust Senator Corker.
The MTSU Poll results among Republicans surveyed were stunning–good news for President Trump, and bad news for Senator Corker, who is up for re-election in 2018.
Twenty-five percent of Republicans “completely trust” President Trump, while 52 percent “somewhat trust” him, for a combined trust level of 77 percent.
In contrast, only eight percent of Tennessee Republicans “completely trust” Senator Corker, while 32 percent “somewhat trust” him, for a combined trust level of 40 percent, the lowest of the four major Republican leaders–Trump, Gov. Haslam, Senator Alexander, and Senator Corker–for whom the question was asked.
You can see the MTSU Poll’s detailed break down for all four officials here:
To what extent do you trust President Trump?
Completely trust 25%
Somewhat trust 52%
Neither trust nor distrust 12%
Somewhat distrust 6%
Do not trust at all 4%
No opinion/Do not know 1%
To what extent do you trust Governor Bill Haslam?
Completely trust 11%
Somewhat trust 38%
Neither trust nor distrust 27%
Somewhat distrust 8%
Do not trust at all 6%
No opinion/Do not know 10%
To what extent do you trust Sen. Bob Corker?
Completely trust 8 %
Somewhat trust 32%
Neither trust nor distrust 30%
Somewhat distrust 13%
Do not trust at all 6%
No opinion/Do not know 11%
To what extent do you trust Sen. Lamar Alexander?
Completely trust 7%
Somewhat trust 35%
Neither trust nor distrust 32%
Somewhat distrust 9%
Do not trust at all 7%
No opinion/Do not know 11%
As The Star has reported extensively, one key cause of Senator Corker’s trust rating and re-election vulnerability problems among Republican primary voters is his non-stop public undermining of President Trump.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Tennessee Democrats trust Senator Corker more than they trust President Trump. Twenty-two percent Corker, while only 9 percent trust the president.
Among Independents, however, it’s a different story. Thirty-three percent trust President Trump, while 25 percent trust Corker.
The MTSU Poll was conducted between June 10 and June 19 via an online survey.
The conservative political blog Rocky Top Politics first pointed out the similarity between the findings of The Tennessee Star Poll and The MTSU Poll last week.
“When Republicans were asked about their level of trust for Sen. Corker, the results were a confirmation of the Tennessee Star poll,” Rocky Top reported:
Corker received only a 40% trust rating in the MTSU poll, with only 8% of Republicans saying they “completely trust” Corker. After 10 years, a committee chairmanship, rumors of higher office, etc. Corker can only muster a minority of 40% of Republicans — the almost exact same level for re-electing Corker (41%) the Tennessee Star found in its poll.
- 41% re-elect among Republicans.
- 41% against a credible primary opponent
- 40% trust rating among Republicans.
Any (credible) person looking for a reason to run successfully against an incumbent senator now has a clear opportunity. Three separate data points on Corker electoral weakness now exist — if a challenger has the sense or the gumption to connect the dots.
And Bob Corker has a big (41%) problem.
Potential Republican primary challengers to Senator Corker are taking note of his vulnerability.
State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) has said he is considering a primary challenge, and Andrew Ogles, head of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee is said to be considering a primary challenge as well.
A number of conservatives are trying to draft State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) into the race, but Green has yet to comment publicly on that possibility.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has publicly stated he will run in 2018 either against Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan for Congress or against Senator Corker for the U.S. Senate seat.
Given Senator Corker’s political vulnerabilities, now demonstrated by two different polls, the list of potential challengers is likely to grow over the next few months.