There is a reason Republican primary candidates across the state, whether they are running for Senate, Governor, Congress or state legislative positions, are clinging to President Donald Trump’s coattails. A new Tennessee Star statewide poll of 1040 likely Republican Primary voters conducted by Triton Polling from June 25-28, 2018 indicates that President Trump retains a sky high approval rating of 86.5 percent; only 7.9 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump, with 5.6 percent undecided.
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who had a campaign rally with President Trump in Nashville just a month ago, is also very popular among likely Tennessee Republican Primary voters. 58.2 percent express approval for Blackburn, 17.8 percent disapprove and 24 percent don’t know or are not sure. A significant portion of the undecided Republican primary voters are in East Tennessee where the remains largely unknown among that large base of GOP voters. Blackburn is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Bob Corker and will face off against former Democrat Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen in November.
Tennessee’s two Senators did not fare nearly as well as Trump and Blackburn among Republican voters. 62.1 percent of likely GOP voters had a negative view of Corker; only 22.3 percent had a favorable view of the retiring Senator who has frequently clashed with and disparaged President Trump. Corker’s numbers differ only slightly from where a Tennessee Star poll showed his 20-60 favorablity/unfavorability ratings six months ago. Corker was actually booed by the Trump crowd in Nashville when the President introduced him.
The are also serious red flags for Senator Lamar Alexander, who will be up for reelection in 2020. Only 37.3 percent have a favorable view towards Alexander, while 38.1 percent view him unfavorably. Alexander was reelected in 2014 while receiving less than 50 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. Alexander lost about a dozen counties to Joe Carr in that primary contest, including most of the suburban ring counties around Nashville and Sevier and Blount County in East Tennessee.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill points out that while Alexander has not been as contentious towards President Trump as Corker, he is also not seen as a strong ally and supporter of the President. “While Alexander did not get booed at the Trump-Blackburn rally in Nashville, he should not confuse the respectful applause with support,” Gill noted. “A 2020 campaign, while Trump is running for reelection, could easily become a referendum on Alexander’s support for the President. If he plans to run for reelection, Alexander needs to be more forceful in his support for the Trump agenda and go all in to insure that Marsha Blackburn wins this November.”
You can read the top line summary of The Tennessee Star Poll here:180629 Triton - Jun 2018 TN Star GOP Primary Survey - Topline Results