Poll: Blackburn, Bredesen locked in tight Senate race in Tennessee

Poll: Blackburn, Bredesen locked in tight Senate race in Tennessee

Former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen and Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity MORE (R) are locked in a dead heat in their Senate race in Tennessee, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday.

About 48 percent of likely voters support Bredesen compared with 46 percent who support Blackburn. Only five percent are undecided.

Both are vying to replace retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' MORE (R) in the election in November.

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The poll shows Bredesen remains popular among voters, with 61 percent of likely voters saying they have a positive view of the state's former two-term governor, while 22 percent have a negative view. 

Meanwhile, 46 percent of likely voters had a favorable view of Blackburn, compared to 36 percent who have an unfavorable view of her. 

The poll also showed President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE’s approval rating at 47 percent of likely voters, compared to 43 percent who disapprove. Trump had won the state by 26 points in 2016.

However, Republicans hold a 12-point lead in congressional preference among Tennessee likely voters. 

Trump has endorsed Blackburn and slammed Bredesen, tweeting last month, “Marsha Blackburn had a BIG win last night in the Tennessee primary for U.S. Senate. She is an outstanding person & great supporter of mine. Congratulations Marsha, we need you very badly in the Senate to vote for our agenda. Your next opponent will vote against all we are doing!”

Bredesen has steered clear of issues championed by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, focusing instead on more local issues. 

In an interview with The Hill, Bredesen called the national party’s brand “terrible,” arguing it has moved away from focusing on opportunities for middle- and working-class families.

 

Political strategists see a path to victory for Bredesen if he can win over Republican voters, especially in suburban and rural Tennessee.

NBC News/Marist interviewed 940 adults, including 538 likely voters from Aug. 25-28. The poll has a margin of error of +/- four percent for all adults and +/- 5.1 percent for likely voters.