Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ Not Enough to Move Voters in Tennessee Senate Race, Poll Says

Taylor Swift’s endorsement of Democrat Phil Bredesen has done little to move the needle in the U.S. Senate race, a new poll by  Cygnal, a Republican polling and research firm shows.

Pop superstar Taylor Swift used Instagram recently to endorse Bredesen and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), The Tennessee Star reported on Oct. 8.

The 28-year-old superstar stunned fans by breaking her career-long political silence with her endorsements.

Cygnal says Swift’s foray into politics is not having much impact, however, particularly in Bredesen’s race with U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) for the open Senate seat. The Star reported Saturday that a New York Times poll shows Blackburn with a strong lead of 54 percent to 40 percent over the former governor.

While election officials in Tennessee have noted an increase in voter registrations, more than 86 percent of respondents say their vote hasn’t changed, despite 82 percent of respondents indicating they were aware of the endorsement, Cygnal said in a statement.

“Millennial and Gen Z voters are highly aware of the endorsement of the Democrat, but it did little to move their vote preference,” said Matt Hubbard, vice president of Research & Analytics at Cygnal. “Swift’s endorsement is providing a boost to get-out-the-vote efforts, but we’re seeing minimal impact on the race.”

The statewide survey, conducted Oct. 13-14, of 414 likely general election voters under the age of 35 in Tennessee, shows Bredesen at 50 percent, with a 14-point lead over Republican Marsha Blackburn, at 36 percent, in this age segment. Ten percent of young voters remain undecided.

“Anytime a celebrity endorses a candidate or speaks publicly about their political views, there’s always a risk of alienating fans on the other side of the aisle,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s president and founder. “In this case, Swift’s endorsement may lead to ‘Bad Blood’ with her conservative fans.”

Respondents that were swayed by Swift’s choice to “Speak Now” were split between the candidates, with 5 percent saying that they would now support Bredesen, and 6 percent indicating they would now vote for Blackburn.

Swift superfans (respondents who have attended four to five of her concerts) heavily favor Bredesen (48 percent-26 percent). Bredesen’s lead swells to +52 among concert-goers who’ve attended at least six of Swift’s shows, but the race is tighter among less passionate fans. Respondents who have attended only one of her concerts are evenly split between the two candidates (Bredesen +1).

Bredesen may be his own worst enemy when it comes to young pop superstars endorsing him.

Twitchy, a conservative Twitter curation and news website, compiled a list of social media users flaming Bredesen for his attempt to be hip, The Star reported. The website itself didn’t hold back, saying Bredesen may have erased any help Swift gave him.

Bredesen tweeted, “.@VoteMarsha, look what you made her do. @taylorswift13 doesn’t like your little games and she wants Tennesseans to know that you’ve been in the swamp long enough. It’s time for some fresh air up in Washington.”

The 74-year-old former Tennessee governor was referencing Swift’s popular song “Look What You Made Me Do,” which has been interpreted as an attack against her enemies, including Kanye West.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Taylor Smith” by GabboT CC2.0.







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