Could Taylor Swift be responsible for giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate?
After The New York Times released a poll concerning the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, many people wrote off the Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen because it showed Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn with a massive fourteen point lead.
Then two days ago people got very confused when a new poll released by Reuters said that Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race was statistically tied. It actually showed Congresswoman Blackburn with support from 47 percent of likely voters, compared to Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor, who had 44 percent support. Still this was close enough to turn a lot of heads and make people wonder what in the world is going on with polling in Tennessee.
And it made some other people wonder: Could this have been caused by Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen? Could there be a massive “Taylor Swift Effect” in Tennessee?
And now a new poll from Vanderbilt University has confused things even further. This poll actually shows Bredesen with a slight one-percent lead. That is within the margin of error, so you could say that the race is “statistically tied.” But this is a huge boost for the Democrat after he had been written off completely due to the New York Times poll.
The poll also shows that President Donald Trump remains somewhat popular in the state, with 55 percent approving of his job performance.
“The bottom line is that Tennessee’s Senate race will be determined by which candidate is better able to turn out their base, as well as any national waves that occur—blue or otherwise,” said John Geer, who directs the Vanderbilt Poll.
When asked who they would vote for 44 percent said they would vote for Bredesen and 43 percent said they would vote for Blackburn. The gender gaps seem evenly split in Tennessee, where women prefer Bredesen 49-37, while men prefer Blackburn 50-37. Because there are slightly more female voters, and because women vote at a slightly higher rate than men, this advantage among women is what has given Bredesen his small lead in the poll.
Bredesen — who was a very popular governor — also has higher support among Republicans than Blackburn has among Democrats. Fully 13 percent of Republicans say they plan to vote for Bredesen, while just 5 percent of Democrats say they will vote for Blackburn. Independent voters are evenly split.
“Our poll results show that this race is still very much a toss-up,” said Geer. “Eight percent of voters are still undecided, and depending on who those voters choose, and who turns out to vote, this race could easily go either way.”
With massive turnout favoring Democrats all over the country this new data means that the Democratic Party has a real chance to flip a Republican Senate seat in Tennessee. If that happens on election night that will be a very good sign for the Blue Wave. It will also might make it possible that Democrats could actually take back control of the Senate, a possibility that right now seems like just a pipe dream.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.