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Date: 16.10.2018, 16:04 / Views: 74281

, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee Published 9:00 a.m. CT April 5, 2018 | Updated 5:29 p.m. CT April 12, 2018

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Phil Bredesen and Marsha Blackburn are the leading candidates to replace Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate Michael Schwab/USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee

636556911897012034-NAS-BREDESEN-02.jpgBuy Photo

U.S. Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen serves chili to supporters during a campaign event at ACME Feed & Seed on Saturday, March 3, 2018.(Photo: Shelley Mays/The Tennessean )Buy Photo

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Former Gov. has a 10-point lead over U.S. Rep. in the race to, according to a new poll from Middle Tennessee State University. 

The poll, released Thursday, found 45 percent of 600 registered Tennessee voters said they would choose Bredesen, a Democrat and former Nashville mayor, if the election were immediately held.

Blackburn, a Brentwood Republican, netted 35 percent, with another 17 percent of respondents saying they were not sure. Three percent of respondents declined to answer. 

More Tennessee Senate race polls::

Senate campaign:

The latest poll is the first survey released this year to suggest Bredesen has a double-digit lead over Blackburn. 

President Donald Trump shares the stage with Gov. BillBuy Photo

President Donald Trump shares the stage with Gov. Bill Haslam, Rep. Diane Black, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Marsha Blackburn and other lawmakers at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center on Jan. 8, 2018, in Nashville. (Photo: Shelley Mays / The Tennessean)

The MTSU poll also found Bredesen had a considerable advantage over Blackburn in terms of support from voters on the other side of the aisle.

Forty-five percent of self-described independents said they would vote for Bredesen while only 33 percent of such voters said they would vote for Blackburn, the poll found. 

More: With Corker out, Blackburn wants to unify Republican Party to beat Bredesen

Endorsements:

Twenty percent of Republican respondents said they would vote for Bredesen while 5 percent of Democrats said they would vote for Blackburn.

Phil Bredesen joined with other top-tier gubernatorial

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Phil Bredesen officially started his campaign for governor as he <u>fashion tipsfashion investment pieces statement scarf</u> visited Jonesborough and Cookeville on his flying tour. 4/29/2002

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Gubernatorial candidates Phil Bredesen, left, and Randy Nichols, right, laugh at fellow candidate John Jay Hooker, center, who, when asked what he would do if he wakes up in November and finds himself Governor, responded "Die." Ten of the eleven registered candidates for Governor participated in a debate held at the downtown Sheraton. 2/7/2002

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With his wife Andrea Conte, center, and supporters cheering him on, gubernatorial candidate Phil Bredesen, right, pauses on his way to file a qualifying petition at the Division of Elections in downtown Nashville. 4/3/2002

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Phil Bredesen acknowledges the cheers and applause of his supporters as he walks out onto the stage to accept victory for the Democratic ticket in the gubernatorial primary election night at Hilton Suites downtown. 8/1/2002

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Gubernatorial candidates Phil Bredesen, left, and Van Hilleary shake hands after their debate in Memphis with moderator Jerry Tate. 10/06/2002

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Phil Bredesen is happy as he watches the early returns with his wife Andrea Conte, son Ben, and Ben's girlfriend Dru Potash at his headquarters at the Hilton in downtown Nashville. 11/5/2002

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Surrounded by supporters and family, Phil Bredesen, right, waves to the crowd after defeating Van Hillary in a hard fought battle to become the Governor of Tennessee. 11/5/2002

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Governor Phil Bredesen and Andrea Conte dance the Tennessee Waltz during the Inaugural Ball at Opryland Hotel. 1/18/2003

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Gov. Phil Bredesen hangs a portrait of Frederick Douglass, a personal hero of his, in his capital office. The same print hung in his office while he was mayor of Nashville. 1/20/2003

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Gov. Phil Bredesen sits in the cockpit of a C-130 cargo plane at the Tennessee National Guard in Nashville. Bredesen spoke to members of the 118th Airlift Wing unit. 3/3/2003

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First lady Andrea Conte and Gov. Phil Bredesen wait to speak during an event at the Children's Memorial Garden in Centennial Park marking National Crime Victims Rights week. 4/6/2003

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, is applauded after signing into law the new lottery legislation in front of supports, lawmakers and students in a ceremony at the Capitol. 6/11/2003

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, right, is presented with gifts as he meets with a 4-H Exchange Club including three members from his hometown high school, Red Jacket High School in Shortsville, N.Y., at the Executive Residence. 7/10/2003

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Gov. Phil Bredesen greets legislators as he enters the State Representatives Chambers before delivering the State of the State address to the joint legislature at the State Capitol. 2/2/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen listens carefully to a question from a member of the media during a press conference announcing that he will give a major TennCare speech next week. 2/11/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen listens as members of different children's advocates groups meet with him to discuss TennCare changes. 2/20/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, enjoys a lighter moment with Sen. Thelma Harper, left, and Rep. Janis Sontany, right, before signing the bill into law requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state to disclose whether they have sprinklers. Sen. Harper and Rep. Sontany were the bill's main legislative sponsors. 3/18/2004

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Backed by Legislators from the House and Senate, Gov. Phil Bredesen signs the TennCare bill at Legislative Plaza. 5/11/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen makes public the federal application to changes Tenncare at a press conference along with J.D. Hickey, Director of TennCare. 8/19/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, walks down the long hallway at the Capitol on his way to a press conference with Kenneth Robinson, left, Department of Health Commissioner, and Trooper Brett Bumpus, right, to announce TennCare could be gone in a week. 11/10/2004

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Gov. Phil Bredesen announces that more than 300,000 people will be cut from TennCare at a press conference at the state Capitol. 1/10/2005

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A sign in protest of Gov. Phil Bredesen's cuts to TennCare hangs over his head as he addresses the joint legislature for his State of the State address in the Tennessee State House of Representatives' Chamber on Capitol Hill. 1/31/2005

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Surprise guest Dolly Parton, left, showed up with Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from left, and Mayor Purcell to kick off the Imagination library by reading stories to children at the Downtown Library. 3/15/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen thanks the crowd gathered at the Renaissance Hotel for their efforts to control the meth problem in Tennessee as he made the announcement that the new meth bill had become law. 3/30/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, is applauded by legislators after signing the Ethics bill into legislation at the Old Supreme Court room in the state Capitol. 5/4/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen answers questions during a news conference about the arrests of four lawmakers, a former lawmaker, and two others. 5/26/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen spoke on the issue following an announcement that Nissan will begin building a hybrid version of the Altima passenger car right here in Middle Tennessee. 6/17/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from right, smiles with enrollee attorney George Barrett, left, after he announced that the state is moving forward in preserving coverage for 97,000 of the neediest TennCare enrollees during a press conference at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville. 8/9/2005

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E.W. Scripps Co. president and CEO Ken Lowe, from left, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell listen as Great American Country president Ed Hardy fielded questions from reporters during a press conference in Nashville, announcing GAC's move to Nashville. 9/6/2005

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Leaving the state Capitol after announcement of Nissan's headquarters relocation to Tennessee are Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from left, Nissan President-CEO Carlos Ghosn and Nissan CFO Ronald Petty. 11/10/2005

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Gov. Phil Bredesen surveys the tornado damage during an aerial tour of Gallatin and other parts of Sumner County yesterday. 4/8/2006

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Tennessee Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, left, and Gov. Phil Bredesen greet each other at the 61st Naifeh Coon Supper at the Covington Country Club in Covington, Tenn. 4/27/2006

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Titans quarterback Vince Young, right, shares a laugh with Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, and Dell CEO Kevin Rollins, left, after the announcement that Dell will be adding 1,000 employees to their Nashville operation at the Dell campus. 6/2/2006

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Gov. Phil Bredesen talks about his health with his doctor, Dr. Karl VanDevender, right, during a press conference at the Capitol in Nashville. 8/28/2006

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Gov. Phil Bredesen shakes hands with Nancy McNabb at a fundraiser for State Representative candidate Mary Esther Bell at Kirby McNabb's house in Murfreesboro. 10/9/2006

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Gov. Phil Bredesen hoists a vacuum cleaner while Oreck founder and TV personality Dave Oreck, right, reacts during a ceremony at the Cookeville factory. 10/24/2006

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Gov. Phil Bredesen, left, waits in line at the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, to cast his vote. 11/7/2006

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Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen holds up a newspaper clipping as Stephanie Burns, president of Dow Corning and Rick Doornbos, president of Hemlock Semiconductor look on after a news conference in Clarksville at Austin Peay State University. Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) LLC is coming to Clarksville with its more than billion investment, and at least 500 high-paying jobs. 12/15/2008Gov. Phil Bredesen makes a statement after holding an impromptu meeting with about a half dozen college students in his office. Students from several Tennessee Board of Regents schools across the state converged on Gov. Bredesen's office in the state Capitol to express their concerns about higher education cuts. 1/13/2009

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U.S. Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil

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Former Gov. Phil Bredesen speaks at a ceremony in ChattanoogaGov. Phil Bredesen sits in the driver's seat of a newVolkswagen AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn, right, showsStefan Jacoby, left, and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen

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Rep. Zach Wamp, left, R-Tenn., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.,Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen sits behind the wheelU.S. Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil

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Phil Bredesen Phil Bredesen Nashville portrait artist Michael Shane Neal's paintingFormer Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen mingles before

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Former mayors Phil Bredesen and Bill Purcell chat with

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, and former mayors Phil

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From left, former Mayors Bill Purcell (partially hidden),

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen shows off

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen shows off

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to

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Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen and former

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Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and former

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Phil Bredesen joined with other top-tier gubernatorial

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Replay

  • Phil Bredesen joined with other top-tier gubernatorial1 of 63
  • Phil Bredesen officially started his campaign for governor as he visited Jonesborough and Cookeville on his flying tour. 4/29/20022 of 63
  • Gubernatorial candidates Phil Bredesen, left, and Randy Nichols, right, laugh at fellow candidate John Jay Hooker, center, who, when asked what he would do if he wakes up in November and finds himself Governor, responded "Die." Ten of the eleven registered candidates for Governor participated in a debate held at the downtown Sheraton. 2/7/20023 of 63
  • With his wife Andrea Conte, center, and supporters cheering him on, gubernatorial candidate Phil Bredesen, right, pauses on his way to file a qualifying petition at the Division of Elections in downtown Nashville. 4/3/20024 of 63
  • Phil Bredesen acknowledges the cheers and applause of his supporters as he walks out onto the stage to accept victory for the Democratic ticket in the gubernatorial primary election night at Hilton Suites downtown. 8/1/20025 of 63
  • Gubernatorial candidates Phil Bredesen, left, and Van Hilleary shake hands after their debate in Memphis with moderator Jerry Tate. 10/06/20026 of 63
  • Phil Bredesen is happy as he watches the early returns with his wife Andrea Conte, son Ben, and Ben's girlfriend Dru Potash at his headquarters at the Hilton in downtown Nashville. 11/5/20027 of 63
  • Surrounded by supporters and family, Phil Bredesen, right, waves to the crowd after defeating Van Hillary in a hard fought battle to become the Governor of Tennessee. 11/5/20028 of 63
  • Governor Phil Bredesen and Andrea Conte dance the Tennessee Waltz during the Inaugural Ball at Opryland Hotel. 1/18/20039 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen hangs a portrait of Frederick Douglass, a personal hero of his, in his capital office. The same print hung in his office while he was mayor of Nashville. 1/20/200310 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen sits in the cockpit of a C-130 cargo plane at the Tennessee National Guard in Nashville. Bredesen spoke to members of the 118th Airlift Wing unit. 3/3/200311 of 63
  • First lady Andrea Conte and Gov. Phil Bredesen wait to speak during an event at the Children's Memorial Garden in Centennial Park marking National Crime Victims Rights week. 4/6/200312 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, is applauded after signing into law the new lottery legislation in front of supports, lawmakers and students in a ceremony at the Capitol. 6/11/200313 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, right, is presented with gifts as he meets with a 4-H Exchange Club including three members from his hometown high school, Red Jacket High School in Shortsville, N.Y., at the Executive Residence. 7/10/200314 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen greets legislators as he enters the State Representatives Chambers before delivering the State of the State address to the joint legislature at the State Capitol. 2/2/200415 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen listens carefully to a question from a member of the media during a press conference announcing that he will give a major TennCare speech next week. 2/11/200416 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen listens as members of different children's advocates groups meet with him to discuss TennCare changes. 2/20/200417 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, enjoys a lighter moment with Sen. Thelma Harper, left, and Rep. Janis Sontany, right, before signing the bill into law requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state to disclose whether they have sprinklers. Sen. Harper and Rep. Sontany were the bill's main legislative sponsors. 3/18/200418 of 63
  • Backed by Legislators from the House and Senate, Gov. Phil Bredesen signs the TennCare bill at Legislative Plaza. 5/11/200419 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen makes public the federal application to changes Tenncare at a press conference along with J.D. Hickey, Director of TennCare. 8/19/200420 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, walks down the long hallway at the Capitol on his way to a press conference with Kenneth Robinson, left, Department of Health Commissioner, and Trooper Brett Bumpus, right, to announce TennCare could be gone in a week. 11/10/200421 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen announces that more than 300,000 people will be cut from TennCare at a press conference at the state Capitol. 1/10/200522 of 63
  • A sign in protest of Gov. Phil Bredesen's cuts to TennCare hangs over his head as he addresses the joint legislature for his State of the State address in the Tennessee State House of Representatives' Chamber on Capitol Hill. 1/31/200523 of 63
  • Surprise guest Dolly Parton, left, showed up with Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from left, and Mayor Purcell to kick off the Imagination library by reading stories to children at the Downtown Library. 3/15/200524 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen thanks the crowd gathered at the Renaissance Hotel for their efforts to control the meth problem in Tennessee as he made the announcement that the new meth bill had become law. 3/30/200525 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, is applauded by legislators after signing the Ethics bill into legislation at the Old Supreme Court room in the state Capitol. 5/4/200526 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen answers questions during a news conference about the arrests of four lawmakers, a former lawmaker, and two others. 5/26/200527 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen spoke on the issue following an announcement that Nissan will begin building a hybrid version of the Altima passenger car right here in Middle Tennessee. 6/17/200528 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from right, smiles with enrollee attorney George Barrett, left, after he announced that the state is moving forward in preserving coverage for 97,000 of the neediest TennCare enrollees during a press conference at the Meharry Medical College in Nashville. 8/9/200529 of 63
  • E.W. Scripps Co. president and CEO Ken Lowe, from left, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell listen as Great American Country president Ed Hardy fielded questions from reporters during a press conference in Nashville, announcing GAC's move to Nashville. 9/6/200530 of 63
  • Leaving the state Capitol after announcement of Nissan's headquarters relocation to Tennessee are Gov. Phil Bredesen, second from left, Nissan President-CEO Carlos Ghosn and Nissan CFO Ronald Petty. 11/10/200531 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen surveys the tornado damage during an aerial tour of Gallatin and other parts of Sumner County yesterday. 4/8/200632 of 63
  • Tennessee Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, left, and Gov. Phil Bredesen greet each other at the 61st Naifeh Coon Supper at the Covington Country Club in Covington, Tenn. 4/27/200633 of 63
  • Titans quarterback Vince Young, right, shares a laugh with Gov. Phil Bredesen, center, and Dell CEO Kevin Rollins, left, after the announcement that Dell will be adding 1,000 employees to their Nashville operation at the Dell campus. 6/2/200634 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen talks about his health with his doctor, Dr. Karl VanDevender, right, during a press conference at the Capitol in Nashville. 8/28/200635 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen shakes hands with Nancy McNabb at a fundraiser for State Representative candidate Mary Esther Bell at Kirby McNabb's house in Murfreesboro. 10/9/200636 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen hoists a vacuum cleaner while Oreck founder and TV personality Dave Oreck, right, reacts during a ceremony at the Cookeville factory. 10/24/200637 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen, left, waits in line at the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, to cast his vote. 11/7/200638 of 63
  • Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen holds up a newspaper clipping as Stephanie Burns, president of Dow Corning and Rick Doornbos, president of Hemlock Semiconductor look on after a news conference in Clarksville at Austin Peay State University. Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) LLC is coming to Clarksville with its more than billion investment, and at least 500 high-paying jobs. 12/15/200839 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen makes a statement after holding an impromptu meeting with about a half dozen college students in his office. Students from several Tennessee Board of Regents schools across the state converged on Gov. Bredesen's office in the state Capitol to express their concerns about higher education cuts. 1/13/200940 of 63
  • U.S. Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil41 of 63
  • Former Gov. Phil Bredesen speaks at a ceremony in Chattanooga42 of 63
  • Gov. Phil Bredesen sits in the driver's seat of a new43 of 63
  • Volkswagen AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn, right, shows44 of 63
  • Stefan Jacoby, left, and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen45 of 63
  • Rep. Zach Wamp, left, R-Tenn., Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.,46 of 63
  • Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen sits behind the wheel47 of 63
  • U.S. Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil48 of 63
  • Phil Bredesen49 of 63
  •  Phil Bredesen 50 of 63
  • Nashville portrait artist Michael Shane Neal's painting51 of 63
  • Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen mingles before52 of 63
  • Former mayors Phil Bredesen and Bill Purcell chat with53 of 63
  • Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, and former mayors Phil54 of 63
  • From left, former Mayors Bill Purcell (partially hidden),55 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to56 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen shows off57 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen shows off58 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to59 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen speaks to60 of 63
  • Former Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen and former61 of 63
  • Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and former62 of 63
  • Phil Bredesen joined with other top-tier gubernatorial63 of 63

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The political makeup of the poll's respondents included 34 percent Republicans, 25 percent Democrats and 28 percent independents. Another 8 percent said "something else."

In an interview, Ken Blake, director of the MTSU poll, said Bredesen's support among Republicans is hardly shocking given his popularity within the party while governor from 2003 to 2011.

"I think some of that good will or social capital that he built up as governor may be paying dividends for him now," Blake said. 

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Marsha Blackburn addressed the Williamson County Republican Party's annual Reagan Day dinner as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Bob Corker. George Walker IV / The Tennessean

On the other hand, Blake said Blackburn is trying to appeal to more "core conservatives."

"If she ends up having to kind of attract some moderate Democrats or Republican-leaning independents, it could be a challenge," Blake said.

The MTSU poll is the latest survey indicating Bredesen would beat Blackburn in a head-to-head matchup. Last month, a poll from a Democratic-leaning firm showed. 

But other polls have shown Blackburn would beat Bredesen.

U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn sings the national

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Newly-elected Senator Marsha Blackburn takes her oath of office at the opening day of the state legislature in 1996. She is the first female senator to serve her district.

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Marilee Martin, left, and Marsha Blackburn, chairs

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Marcia Ledford, front, chairman of the Christmas Jubilee

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Marsha Blackburn grills out in the backyard of her Brentwood home in 2000.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn, pleased with the veto override by the House and the Senate, reacts to the crowd after she spoke on talk radio with Phil Valentine in 2001.Senator Marsha Blackburn, (R), Brentwood in 2004.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn discusses the state's financial situation and its ramifications on programs on March 8, 2001.Marsha Blackburn thanks her supporters at a rally in Franklin in 2002 after she won the Republican nomination for the 7th Congressional District.

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Marsha Blackburn is headed to the U.S. Congress after celebrating at the Embassy Suites in Cool Springs. Husband Chuck Blackburn shares her joy.

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From left, Chad Blackburn, Brentwood; U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Paul Ketchel, Franklin in 2003.

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U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee visits U.S. troops on a trip in Afghanistan in 2004.Marsha Blackburn signs her book, "Life Equity," described on a website for her book as "a step-by-step plan for using the powerful and valuable skills (women) already have to change their own lives and enrich the world."Congressman Marsha Blackburn chats with Senator Lamar Alexander, keynote speaker for a Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner at the Clarksville Country Club in 2010.U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, left, and Carly Fiorina, California candidate for the U.S. Senate and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, at the Reagan Day Dinner in Cool Springs.

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Marsha. From left, Daisy King, Nashville; U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Chery Petty, Franklin.

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Chuck and Marsha Blackburn in 1996.

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Marsha Blackburn, right, chats with Sandy McCoy at the Italian Street Fair Pre-Party at Blackburn's home in Brentwood.

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Left to right, Chuck Blackburn, Marsha Blackburn and Paul Ney in 1996.

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Birthday girls from left, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Cheryl Petty, Franklin in 2007.

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U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and her husband, Chuck Blackburn, Brentwood in 2008.Marsha Blackburn in 2010.Marsha Blackburn and Rose Grindstaff in 2001.

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Congressman Marsha Blackburn celebrates her win with her supporters at Mere Bulles in Brentwood on Aub. 6, 2008.

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Marsha Blackburn in 2006.

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U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn holds her grandson Jack Ketchel, 5-months, at the Williamson County Republican Party at Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tenn on Nov 4, 2008.

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U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and longtime friend, Olivia Haley, Ms. Senior America in Washington.U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and Dr. Ming Wang at the 2010 Eyeball held at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on October 15, 2010.

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U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn tours the new Rolling Hills Hospital under construction in Franklin on Monday, July 21, 2008.

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U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn holds a town hall meeting on health care for 7th District constituents at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the Cool Springs area of Franklin on Friday, August 14, 2009.

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Marsha Blackburn walks off stage with her grandchild Jack Ketchel as Republicans celebrate at Union Station hotel in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 2, 2010.

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U.S. Rep. Marsha BlackburnPresident Donald Trump shares the stage with Gov. Bill

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U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn addresses the

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David Dell' Aquila chats with U.S. Senate candidate

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order on

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U.S. Rep. Marsha BlackburnU.S. Rep Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, is set to run

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U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn will run for the U.S. Senate.Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood

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Chuck and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, at the

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U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Replay

  • U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn sings the national1 of 42
  • Newly-elected Senator Marsha Blackburn takes her oath of office at the opening day of the state legislature in 1996. She is the first female senator to serve her district.2 of 42
  • Marilee Martin, left, and Marsha Blackburn, chairs3 of 42
  • Marcia Ledford, front, chairman of the Christmas Jubilee4 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn grills out in the backyard of her Brentwood home in 2000.5 of 42
  • Senator Marsha Blackburn, pleased with the veto override by the House and the Senate, reacts to the crowd after she spoke on talk radio with Phil Valentine in 2001.6 of 42
  • Senator Marsha Blackburn, (R), Brentwood in 2004.7 of 42
  • Senator Marsha Blackburn discusses the state's financial situation and its ramifications on programs on March 8, 2001.8 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn thanks her supporters at a rally in Franklin in 2002 after she won the Republican nomination for the 7th Congressional District.9 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn is headed to the U.S. Congress after celebrating at the Embassy Suites in Cool Springs. Husband Chuck Blackburn shares her joy.10 of 42
  • From left, Chad Blackburn, Brentwood; U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Paul Ketchel, Franklin in 2003.11 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee visits U.S. troops on a trip in Afghanistan in 2004.12 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn signs her book, "Life Equity," described on a website for her book as "a step-by-step plan for using the powerful and valuable skills (women) already have to change their own lives and enrich the world."13 of 42
  • Congressman Marsha Blackburn chats with Senator Lamar Alexander, keynote speaker for a Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner at the Clarksville Country Club in 2010.14 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, left, and Carly Fiorina, California candidate for the U.S. Senate and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, at the Reagan Day Dinner in Cool Springs.15 of 42
  • Marsha. From left, Daisy King, Nashville; U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Chery Petty, Franklin.16 of 42
  • Chuck and Marsha Blackburn in 1996.17 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn, right, chats with Sandy McCoy at the Italian Street Fair Pre-Party at Blackburn's home in Brentwood.18 of 42
  • Left to right, Chuck Blackburn, Marsha Blackburn and Paul Ney in 1996.19 of 42
  • Birthday girls from left, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Brentwood; and Cheryl Petty, Franklin in 2007.20 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and her husband, Chuck Blackburn, Brentwood in 2008.21 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn in 2010.22 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn and Rose Grindstaff in 2001.23 of 42
  • Congressman Marsha Blackburn celebrates her win with her supporters at Mere Bulles in Brentwood on Aub. 6, 2008.24 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn in 2006.25 of 42
  • U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn holds her grandson Jack Ketchel, 5-months, at the Williamson County Republican Party at Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tenn on Nov 4, 2008.26 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and longtime friend, Olivia Haley, Ms. Senior America in Washington.27 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) and Dr. Ming Wang at the 2010 Eyeball held at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel on October 15, 2010.28 of 42
  • U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn tours the new Rolling Hills Hospital under construction in Franklin on Monday, July 21, 2008.29 of 42
  • U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn holds a town hall meeting on health care for 7th District constituents at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the Cool Springs area of Franklin on Friday, August 14, 2009.30 of 42
  • Marsha Blackburn walks off stage with her grandchild Jack Ketchel as Republicans celebrate at Union Station hotel in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 2, 2010.31 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn32 of 42
  • President Donald Trump shares the stage with Gov. Bill33 of 42
  • U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn addresses the34 of 42
  • David Dell' Aquila chats with U.S. Senate candidate35 of 42
  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order on36 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn37 of 42
  • U.S. Rep Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, is set to run38 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn will run for the U.S. Senate.39 of 42
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood40 of 42
  • Chuck and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, at the41 of 42
  • U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn42 of 42

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With so many respondents still undecided on the race, Blake surmised that many Tennesseans are distracted by the consistent flow of news and developments out of Washington, D.C.  

The MTSU poll did not include questions about other Republican candidates seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate, or favorability and name recognition for Blackburn and Bredesen. 

In MTSU's last poll, conducted in October, respondents weighed in on the favorability of Blackburn and Bredesen, and others. 

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Former Gov. Phil Bredesen officially launched his bid for U.S. Senate Thursday, announcing his run with an online video. Video from Bredesen for Senate

Also seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate are Williamson County businessman Darrell Lynn, former Memphis Grizzlies ophthalmologist Rolando Toyos and perennial candidate Larry Crim.

In a statement, Blackburn's campaign spokesman Abbi Sigler said Bredesen was trying to convince voters he's a moderate but he's more in line with Democrats like U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

"Tennesseans know Marsha Blackburn is the only candidate who will represent their conservative values in the United States Senate," Sigler said. 

After the poll was release, Alyssa Hansen, a spokeswoman for the Bredesen campaign said, "Message is loud and clear: Tennesseans want a leader who is willing to work with anyone to get things done. Team Phil Bredesen is taking nothing for granted."

Corker, Haslam weigh in 

Corker in September announced he would not seek a third term. He in February. 

Making a brief appearance at the state Capitol on Thursday, Corker told reporters the latest poll underlined the fact that the race between Blackburn and Bredsen will be tight. 

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and the end," he said. "It'd be too early to make any prognostications today."

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Haslam said he had just heard about the poll and wanted to see the methodology before commenting. 

"But I've said all along that's going to be a close race," Haslam said. "Anybody that thinks that's a for-sure Republican seat is kidding themselves."

Governor's race

Tennessee Governor candidates (L to R) House Speaker

Tennessee governor candidates, House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), Karl Dean (D), Randy Boyd (R), Bill Lee (R) and Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D) participate in the gubernatorial candidates' forum on health care Feb. 27, 2018 at Trevecca Nazerene University in Nashville. (Photo: HELEN COMER/DNJ)

Beyond the U.S. Senate race, the latest MTSU poll featured questions on the governor's race, as well as voters' views on Corker, Haslam, President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. 

The poll found 30 percent of respondents had a favorable views of Knoxville entrepreneur Randy Boyd and U.S. Rep. Diane Black.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, had a positive view among 26 percent of respondents, followed by House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, who netted 23 percent. 

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh trailed the pack, with 16 percent of respondents having a positive view of each candidate.

Fitzhugh and Dean are seeking the Democratic nomination, while Black, Boyd, Harwell and Lee are seeking the GOP nomination. 

In terms of negative views, Black led the way. A total of 38 percent of respondents said they had a negative view of her. Respondents ranked Dean second in terms of negative views with 32 percent.

In MTSU's October poll, 31 percent of respondents had a negative view of Black. 

In the latest poll, the negative views of the other candidates were: Harwell, 29 percent; Fitzhugh, 28 percent; Lee, 24 percent; and Boyd, 23 percent.   

Blake said the biggest findings on the governor's race is how many people remain undecided. Roughly a quarter of respondents said they did not know and favor or oppose any of the gubernatorial candidates, leaving room for the hopefuls to pick up support.  

"The unusually interesting political dramas playing out in Washington right now have to be a distraction for everybody in the country as well as voters in Tennessee," he said. 

Presidential approval rating

President Trump

President Trump (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP)

The poll found 50 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Trump's job performance while 41 percent disapproved. Eight percent said they did not know, with another one percent declining to answer. 

The president's approval rating is similar to MTSU's October poll, which found 50 percent approved of his job and 41 percent disapproved. 

More:

"The president’s stable approval ratings in Tennessee could be a positive sign for Blackburn, who has been aligning herself with him in her campaign advertising,” Blake said in a statement. “But the same numbers indicate he is a polarizing figure, which could be a problem for Blackburn if she ends up needing help from voters outside Trump’s base.”

Other approval ratings

The poll found respondents had approval ratings for the following officials and legislative bodies:

  • 41 percent approval of Corker, compared to 45 percent in October
  • 39 percent approval of Alexander, compared to 45 percent in October
  • 58 percent approval of Haslam, compared to 56 percent in October
  • 47 percent approval of the state legislature, compared to 48 percent in October; and
  • 14 percent approval of the U.S. Congress, compared to 13 percent in October.

The poll was conducted March 22 to 29 using cell phones and landlines and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Join the conversation


Reach Joel Ebert at  or 615-772-1681 and on Twitter .

 

 



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