A new poll on The New York Times’ website shows Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn is ahead of her Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen by a comfortable margin of 18 points, 57 percent to 39 percent.
This poll is a result of The Times calling 17,170 phones across all areas of Tennessee — Democrat, Republican, and undecided alike.
Though The Times does not specify when the poll was conducted–an unusual omission among polling firms–it appears to be an ongoing poll with results of 17,170 calls made on Tuesday, October 9.
Exactly 366 people have thus far answered, according to The Times’ website. The poll has a margin of error of 6 points.
The Cook Political Report calls this race a tossup between Blackburn and Bredesen. FiveThirtyEight, The Center for Politics, and Inside Elections, however, say it leans Republican, according to The Times’ website.
To add context, The Times cited polls that nine other organizations recently did on the race. Those pollsters talked to people at different times, ranging between Aug. 9 of this year through the end of last week. Five of those nine organizations, including those who did the two most recent polls, have Blackburn ahead of Bredesen.
An Oct. 2-5 YouGov poll, for instance, had Blackburn up by eight points, or 50 percent to 42 percent. A Sept. 29-Oct. 2 FOX News poll, meanwhile had her up by five points, or 48 percent to 43 percent.
Only three of the nine polls had Bredesen ahead, and those were taken nearly a month ago. A Sept. 16-18 Vox Populi poll, for instance, had Bredesen up by two points, or 51 percent to 49 percent. A Sept. 11-15 SSRS poll had Bredesen up by five points, or 50 percent to 45 percent.
Another poll, which SurveyMonkey did Sept.9-24, had Blackburn and Bredesen both at 42 percent.
As for The Times’ poll, pollsters said numbers will likely change.
“As we reach more people, our poll will become more stable and the margin of sampling error will shrink,” according to The Times.
“The changes in the timeline below reflect that sampling error, not real changes in the race.”
Pollsters also said that even if they got turnout demographics precisely right then the margin of error still wouldn’t capture all the error in a poll.
“The simplest version assumes we have a perfect random sample of the voting population. We do not,” pollsters wrote.
“People who respond to surveys are almost always too old, too white, too educated and too politically engaged to accurately represent everyone.”
In this case, according to the posted demographics, most people who participated were 65 and older, were white, and answered on their landline, and not their cell phones.
CBS says that in this race and several others where Democrats hope to win upset Senate victories, they are “having at best mixed results so far.”
These races have been nationalized, CBS said. By more than two to one, registered voters say national issues outweigh local ones. Voters say their vote is mainly about the country’s direction. Majorities of each candidate’s voters say they aim to put their party in control.
A Tennessee Star Poll released in September showed Blackburn with a three point lead over Bredesen, 48 percent to 45 percent.
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