Photo by Steve Barnum / Staff Writer
Donald Trump is leading Hillary Clinton by 12 percent with likely voters in Tennessee, according to results released on Tuesday from the MTSU Poll.
According to the poll, Trump is ahead of Clinton for both registered and likely voters. Tennessee’s results contradict the current post-debate polling nationwide, as Clinton is leading by an average of almost four points. The MTSU Poll places Trump at 48 percent over Clinton’s 36 among likely voters and 46 percent over Clinton’s 32 for registered voters.
Conducted between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, the poll established Trump’s lead in Tennessee directly after the first presidential debate. Six hundred registered voters were selected for the survey, with 472 of the participants classified as likely voters.
Despite Trump’s apparent lead in the MTSU poll, only around half of Tennessee supports Trump when asked to choose between Clinton and himself.
“Barely half of Tennessee’s likely voters support Mr. Trump, but that is more than enough for him to decisively defeat his opponents and win the state’s 11 electoral college votes,” Dr. Ken Blake, MTSU journalism professor and the poll’s operations director, said on the poll’s website.
The poll also contained questions regarding the March primaries. Bernie Sanders drew in a slim seven percent of registered voters within the Tennesee primaries, according to participants. Sixty one percent of the previous Sanders supporters said they will vote for Clinton in the general, while zero percent claimed they would vote for Jill Stein. Nineteen percent of another group of Sanders supporters said they will vote for Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson come November.
The Republican side of the primary section yielded similar results. Of the 17 percent that said they voted for a rival of Trump in the primary, a majority, 71 percent, said they would vote for Trump in the general election. Regardless of voter support for candidates that did not receive the nomination, many of the participants plan to put their support behind either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
Dr. Jason Reineke, the associate director of the poll, said on the poll’s website, “Despite a lot of speculation about party defections from unpopular candidates following divisive primaries, only small minorities of voters report that they are voting for someone other than their party’s nominee in the general after voting for a primary rival.”
Even with the strong support for the party nominees, there is a significant divide on whether the nominees are competent enough to be president. When asked about Trump’s abilities, 49 percent agree that he is capable of doing the job, while 42 percent disagree. Likewise for Clinton, 47 percent agree she will be able to do the job, while 46 percent disagree.
Finally, the participants were asked who they thought would successfully secure the presidency, regardless of their political affiliation. Only 35 percent agreed that Trump will win, while 43 percent believe that Clinton will win.