Story by Elisabeth Bradley // Contributing Writer
Trump and Clinton have the advantage among Republican and Democratic voters in Tennessee, despite also having the two highest disapproval rates across the state, according to the MTSU Poll conducted from Jan. 15-20.
“We asked two types of questions about the presidential race to get a sense of where potential voters stand,” Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll, said in a press release.
The poll included 600 registered Tennessee voters and was conducted by phone. Reineke said voters were asked who they would most prefer to win the 2016 presidential election, who they would least like to win and if they were in favor of, or in opposition of, specific candidates. The results were broken down by Democratic, Republican, and independent voters.
Donald Trump was chosen by 33 percent of Tennessee’s Republicans as the candidate they preferred to win the 2016 presidential election. Cruz, in second place, was chosen by 17 percent of Republican voters, and 28 percent of Republicans said that they were unsure.
While 65 percent of Republican voters said they would favor, or strongly favor, Trump as president, 60 percent said the same for Cruz and 60 percent of Republicans also favored Carson.
“If the current favorite, Trump, were to fade, it appears majorities of GOP voters would be willing to back Cruz or Carson, perhaps especially if Clinton turned out to be the Democratic nominee,” Ken Blake, the poll’s director, said.
Independent voters also seemed to favor Trump as he was chosen as the top pick for president by 26 percent. Sanders was the next most popular among independents coming in at 10 percent. The number of undecided independents was 30 percent.
However, nearly a fourth of all voters polled in Tennessee said that Trump was the candidate they would least like to win the election.
Clinton was chosen by 47 percent of Democrats as their preferred presidential candidate, but she was also found to be the least-liked candidate statewide. Out of all of the poll’s respondents, 50 percent chose Clinton as who they’d least like to win the election; which was double the statewide opposition to Trump.
Sanders was chosen by 15 percent of Democratic voters as their top pick for the presidency, and 26 percent of Democrats were undecided.
Clinton was favored or strongly favored for president by 77 percent of Democratic voters, while Sanders was supported by 42 percent of Democrats.
Tennessee voters will vote in the SEC primary on March 1, along with 10 other states.