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TN-Sen: In GOP-controlled state, Dem Senate candidate seen much more favorably than GOP opponent

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Tennessee, commands a major favorability lead over his likely GOP opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

For a Senate race many predict will be very close yet ultimately won by a Republican, the fight for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) appears to be solidly in the Democrats’ favor less than six months from the election.

A new survey released by Vanderbilt University shows the leading Democrat in the race, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, has a significant favorability advantage.

What does the poll show?

The survey, which polled 1,400 registered voters, found that a whopping 67 percent of Tennesseans view Bredesen favorably, and just 25 percent view him unfavorably. Those are nearly unbeatable numbers in 2018 American politics.

Meanwhile, the survey found that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the leading Republican in the race who has secured an endorsement from President Donald Trump, is viewed favorably by just 49 percent of Tennessee voters. Thirty-eight percent said they view her unfavorably.

The results, while just from one survey, are significant. If Blackburn wins the GOP primary on Aug. 2, which she is widely predicted to do, she will have just three months to convince Tennesseans she is the right person to replace Corker.

That’s not much time considering Bredesen, 74, was an extremely popular governor who has crossover appeal to moderate Republicans. What also hurts Blackburn, 65, is the fact that she is seen as a hardline conservative ideologue while her opponent is often viewed as a pragmatic leader.

What does this mean for the race?

Just as so many have predicted, it is becoming more clear this race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive of the 33 Senate races this election cycle.

Bredesen commands a clear lead in favorability and, according to RealClearPolitics, a slight lead in the polls. However, Tennessee has become increasingly more conservative in reason years, which gives the GOP a slight upper hand.

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