According to a Tennessee Star poll of 1001 likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee conducted by Triton Research from March 5 to March 10, Gov. Bill Lee (R) is fairly popular, but many of his policies are not.
Lee has a 69.9 percent favorability rate among those likely voters. That number is 20 points shy of former president Donald J. Trump’s 89.7 percent favorability – the highest ever for the forty fifth president in a Star poll – but still relatively high.
For example, the poll showed that 20.1 percent of likely Republican voters strongly support Lee’s COVID-19 restrictions, which included business closure mandates and restrictions on religious activities. But 26.1 percent said they strongly oppose those restrictions. Twenty-six percent of respondents somewhat support the measures, while 21,9 percent somewhat oppose them.
Lee’s numbers were worse when it came to refugee resettlement, which Trump curbed during his administration. Some states like Texas stopped accepting refugees altogether, while Lee invited more refugees to Tennessee.
Only 7.2 percent of likely Republican voters said they strongly supported Lee on that position, while 58.4 percent said they strongly opposed it. Another 20.5 percent somewhat opposed it, while only 10.2 percent said they somewhat supported it.
Lee’s administration implemented a “Well Being Initiative,” that was later withdrawn after severe backlash.
The Star’s polling showed that program, which would have allowed the state to interview children about their well being without a parent present, was massively unpopular among likely Republican voters, only seven percent of whom said they strongly supported it. Another 52 percent said they strongly opposed it, and only 15.2 percent said they somewhat supported it while 20.1 percent somewhat opposed it.
Also included in the poll was a question about foreign investment from China in individual states.
Likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee are largely against such investments, with 76.4 percent saying they strongly support not accepting foreign investments from China. Only 6.8 percent said they strongly opposed not accepting foreign investments from China.
Finally, more respondents than not said that a Trump endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate would change the way they voted. While 41.6 percent of those polled said a Trump endorsement would change the way they voted, only 32 percent said it would not, showing that Trump has sway over how some voters might behave. About a quarter – 26.5 percent of voters – said they were unsure.
Historically, The Star’s polling has been quite accurate.
In 2018, this publication polled 607 residents of Nashville/Davidson County on two consecutive days in mid-April, asking if they planned to vote for or against a $9 billion transit plan and tax in Nashville. According to the results of that poll, 62.4 percent of voters said they would vote against the plan, while 27.9 percent of voters said they would vote for the plan. 10 percent said they were undecided.
When the vote was held two weeks later, 64 percent voted against the plan, while 36 percent voted in favor of it.
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