Poll: Democrat Bredesen holds slim lead over Blackburn in Tennessee Senate race

Poll: Democrat Bredesen holds slim lead over Blackburn in Tennessee Senate race

Democrat Phil Bredesen holds a razor-thin lead over Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnThe evolution of Taylor Swift's political activism Kellyanne Conway responds to Taylor Swift criticism by invoking pop star's lyrics Is there internet life after thirty? MORE (R-Tenn.) in the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, according to a poll released Thursday. 

A Vanderbilt University poll showed Bredesen, the state's former governor, leading Blackburn by 1 percentage point, 44-43. The difference falls well within the poll’s margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. 

Independent voters are split evenly between the two candidates, the poll found.

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Bredesen holds an advantage among women surveyed, with 49 percent saying they plan to vote for the Democrat. By comparison, 37 percent of women prefer Blackburn, the poll found. 

Blackburn leads among men in the state, the poll found, by a tally of 50 percent to 37 percent.

Women vote at a higher rate than men, the poll noted, helping to give Bredesen an overall lead in the survey.

The Vanderbilt poll surveyed 800 registered voters from Oct. 6 to 12.

Thursday’s results marked the first poll in weeks that showed the former governor leading in the race and came on the heels of a New York Times–Siena poll that showed Blackburn with a 14-point edge.

The Vanderbilt poll's slim margin is similar to a Reuters–Ipsos–University of Virginia poll released Wednesday that showed Blackburn with a narrow 3 point lead.

A RealClearPolitics average of polls in the race shows Blackburn with a 9-point advantage. The two candidates are vying to replace retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R).

Bredesen, who served as governor of the state from 2003 to 2011, received a boost earlier this month when Taylor Swift endorsed him. The superstar had not previously explicitly endorsed any political candidates, and she slammed Blackburn's voting record in a lengthy Instagram post.

Swift on Wednesday urged her followers to participate in early voting, which opened in Tennessee the same day.

Democrats see Tennessee as a prime opportunity to flip a longtime red seat in their bid to take back the Senate. 

They need to gain two seats for a majority in the upper chamber, but face a difficult map with 10 Democratic senators running in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE carried in the 2016 presidential election.