Vanderbilt Poll statewide results show growing party-line support for politicians alongside bipartisan support for other issues

Republican Tennesseans are more supportive of Lee, Blackburn than their Democrat counterparts


Claire Barnett

Election Day: November 6, 2018 in Clarksville, TN (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Rachel Friedman, Editor-in-Chief

The statewide results for the most recent Vanderbilt University Poll were released June 6, showing increasing levels of partisanship among Tennessean voters’ support for politicians.

Since 2011, the non-partisan poll has surveyed public opinion in the state of Tennessee and the city of Nashville. Poll results for Nashville-specific issues were released earlier this month. Political science professors John Geer and Josh Clinton serve have directed the poll since its beginning.

The recently-released poll results showed that Lee’s 61 percent approval rating draws mostly from Republicans, as does recently-elected Senator Marsha Blackburn’s 45 percent, Geer said in the Vanderbilt press release. Senator Lamar Alexander garnered 46 percent approval in the poll.

State politics proved more popular than the national level; Congress’ 26 percent approval rating pales in comparison to the poll’s finding of 56 percent approval for the state legislature.

Tennesseans showed bipartisan support for certain issues, including increasing voting access, policies relating to children’s health, and policies preserving the right of illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. Still, they differed on other statewide issues, like the recently passed legislation allowing school vouchers in Davidson and Shelby counties, with only 40 percent of respondents favoring the bill.

Another notable conclusion from the poll was that only 41 percent of voters supported the Tennessee “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions after the detection of fetal heart activity. The bill passed in the House but the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the legislation to a summer study prior to voting.

The poll surveyed 1,000 demographically representative Tennessean voters throughout May via landline and cell phones. Voters were asked about state and national issues. The full results of this year’s poll, as well as previous data, are available online.