As Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam moves closer to full lame-duck status when his successor is elected on November 6 it appears he will leave office with a relatively high approval rating from Tennessee voters. A Tennessee Star survey of likely November general election voter conducted in early September shows the Governor with a “favorable” approval rating from 47.8%; “unfavorable” from 27.1%, “ and “not sure or don’t know” at 25.1%.
Haslam’s approval figure is 4 points lower than the approval rating for President Donald Trump in the same poll. However, the disapproval number for Haslam is 15 points lower than the response of those surveyed regarding President Trump.
Trump and Senator Lamar Alexander received virtually identical disapproval responses in the survey, 42.4% and 40.8% respectively. Haslam and Alexander both recorded high levels of “not sure/don’t know” responses regarding the voters’ opinions of the two men, 27.4% and 25.1% respectively.
Tennessee Star political editor Steve Gill points out that the Trump and Alexander disapproval ratings reflect the bitter partisan divide in the country and state. “Those who support Trump really support him and those who don’t really don’t,” Gill says. “Despite Alexander’s long term appeal across the political aisle, his support for Trump and many of his policies are creating a gap between him and many Democrats and Independents who have previously supported him. Meanwhile, those who adamantly support Trump don’t see him on their team so he doesn’t receive their approval in the survey, with many of them saying they don’t know or aren’t sure about him while they express their approval of Trump at a twenty point higher level.”
“Haslam is not viewed as particularly partisan by many of the never-Trumpers or anti-Trumpers, especially since he has been critical of Trump in the past, so his approval number is higher than Lamar’s among that group,” Gill adds. “But Lamar is not seen as being supportive enough of Trump to get the approval from his supporters, so he lags behind both Trump and Haslam as he fails to get much support from the anti-Trump OR the pro-Trump voters.”
The Tennessee Star poll was conducted by Triton Polling and Research from September 10-12, 2018 and surveyed 1038 likely voters.