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Tennessee Poll: The Race for Senate is Too Close to Call

Like much of the nation, turnout for the midterm election in Tennessee is setting new records. Interest and participation in this election is extremely high compared to recent history.

In the race for Senate, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen are tied (48% to 48%) among likely and early voters. When undecided likely voters are pressed to make a choice (Leaners), both remain tied (49% to 49%).

In the race for Governor, Republican businessman Bill Lee holds a commanding 9-point lead (52% to 43%) over the Former Democratic Mayor of Nashville Karl Dean. When undecided likely voters are pressed to make a choice (Leaners), Lee’s lead remains at 9 points (53% to 44%).

Among early voters, Blackburn holds a 2-point lead over Bredesen and Lee holds a 6-point lead over Dean.

Election day turnout will play a significant role in the selection of Tennessee’s next Senator.

In the Governor’s race, it appears roughly 4% to 5% of likely voters are crossing over from Lee and voting for the relatively conservative Democrat Phil Bredesen who served two terms as Governor in the Senate race.

As mentioned earlier, the state of Tennessee is on pace to set a record for the highest voter turnout in a midterm election. If turnout mirrors the 2016 election for President, Blackburn could achieve a narrow win. Among voters who voted in 2016 and have or plan to vote in 2018, Blackburn leads by 4 points, and Lee leads by a commanding 15 points.

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Most public polls show Blackburn and Lee with commanding leads. Based on the results of this poll, it’s possible we will be up late Tuesday night to learn who will represent Tennessee in the Senate next year. Concession speeches in the Governor’s race could occur very early next Tuesday evening.


This online poll was conducted with 802 registered voters from October 28-31, 2018 by Targoz Market Research. Respondents were selected from ProdegeMR’s online panel respondents who were matched to voter records from 2016 and 2012. Of the 802 registered voters in the sample, 480 were identified as likely voters including 228 who said they have already voted.

The results reflect a representative sample of registered voters. Results were weighted for age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, and political party. Additional behavioral weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

[The poll was conducted by Targoz Market Research of Nashville, TN and was not commissioned or paid for by any candidate or political organization.] RandyEllison@targoz.com; RandyEllison@Twitter


Ballot Results: Tennessee Senator

QUESTION: If the Tennessee election for U.S. Senator were held today, would you vote for: (ROTATE)

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Ballot Results: Tennessee Governor

QUESTION: If the Tennessee election for Governor were held today, would you vote for: (ROTATE)

TN Governor Ballot 2018.png