Poll of GOP voters finds many prefer ‘someone else’ to Corker (but not Joe Carr or Andy Ogles)

A poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters indicates U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s reelection in 2018 is supported by 41.1 percent of those surveyed while 41.6 percent would rather “give someone else a chance,” according to Tennessee Star.

The poll also found that Corker would face a statistical dead heat in a mythical matchup against U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Corker 41.4 percent versus 38.6 for Blackburn, who said this week – after the poll was taken – that she will seek reelection to a ninth House term next year rather than challenge Corker. (Previous post HERE)

Against former state Rep. Joe Carr (who got 40 percent of the primary vote against Lamar Alexander in 2014) the poll found Corker winning 51 percent to 24 percent. Against Andy Ogles, who leads Americans for Prosperity in Tennessee, the incumbent was favored 52-15.

Tennessee Star, a recently-launched website focused on promoting conservative causes and frequently critical of Corker, has one story on Corker’s overall vulnerability (HERE) and another on the mythical matchups (HERE). Both include commentary from Steve Gill, political consultant and former host of a conservative radio talk show in Middle Tennessee.

Sample from the overview story:

“Senator Corker is well known and has high name recognition, so the opportunity to change his image among voters, particularly among conservative Republicans, is pretty limited,” media consultant Gill says.

“The intense support for Trump among GOP primary voters is another challenge for Corker, particularly in view of the critical comments he has directed at the President. If Trump retains the current level of support among Tennessee Republican voters, or even higher, that doesn’t bode well for an establishment type politician. In fact, the negative response to Corker’s comments about Trump’s administration being in a ‘downward spiral’ make it clear that Trump supporters have little tolerance for attacks on him by fellow Republicans,” Gill adds.

When asked “Senator Bob Corker recently said President Trump is ‘out of control’ and the ‘White House is in a downward spiral.’ Do you agree or disagree with Senator Corker?” only 20 percent of likely Tennessee GOP primary voters agreed. A huge 76 percent disagreed.

His criticism of President Trump appears to have hurt Corker badly among Tennessee’s Republican primary voters.

When asked “Based upon Senator Corker’s comments about President Trump, are you more likely or less likely to vote for him, or do his comments make no difference?” a full 55 percent of likely Tennessee GOP primary voters said they were “less likely to vote for him.” Only 11 percent said they were “more likely to vote for him.”

The poll, which was commissioned by The Tennessee Star and conducted by Triton Polling and Research in an automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,007 likely Tennessee Republican Primary voters between May 31 and June 5, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Some other poll figures:

-President Trump has a cumulative approval rating of 86 percent when asked about his job performance (63.4 ‘strongly’ approve)

– Gov. Bill Haslam has a 74.4 percent job performance approval (29.3 percent ‘strongly’)

–Asked about their preference for governor in 2018 and provided a list of seven potential candidates, 60.9 percent said they don’t know yet. Of the listed candidates, U.S. Rep. Diane Black had the highest preference, 9.9 percent, followed by Randy Boyd at 8.1 percent.

Excerpt from the matchup story:

The Tennessee Star Poll did not test a head-to-head match up between Senator Corker and State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), another potential conservative challenger. At the time the poll was initiated, Green was considered a potential candidate in the 2018 Tennessee Republican Gubernatorial race.

Late last week, Green said he would not run for governor in 2018. He added, however, that he “will instead look to Washington DC to help serve our country and provide real help to President Trump,” an indication that he may be considering a challenge to Corker in the U.S. Senate race, or possibly biding his time to make a bid for the Congressional seat currently held by Marsha Blackburn, should she challenge Corker in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, or the Congressional seat currently held by Diane Black, should she enter the race for governor, which many political observers think is likely.

Note: A Vanderbilt University poll, released last week, showed Corker with a overall 52 percent approval rating — all voters, not just Republicans. That was the same percentage as those approving of Trump.


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