Beacon Poll: April Results

April 9, 2024 5:05PM

Today, we released our fourth quarterly Beacon Poll, a statewide survey of 1,197 registered Tennessee voters comprised of questions about political races, policy issues, and more.

In the Tennessee Senate race that is garnering national attention, the new Beacon Poll finds incumbent Senator Marsha Blackburn with a comfortable 16-point lead over her closest competitor, Democrat Gloria Johnson. The news is not all bad for Gloria Johnson though, as she maintains a large 31-point cushion over 2020 Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw in the Democratic primary to take on Blackburn in November.

Former President Donald Trump maintains an enormous lead over President Joe Biden. Trump leads Biden by 25 points in a head-to-head matchup (58%-33%), but the race gets tighter when Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is involved. With Robert F. Kennedy garnering a respectable 15% of the vote, Trump’s lead shrinks to 20 points over Biden (48%-28%). Trump’s 20-point advantage is the smallest we have seen and is six points closer than our January poll.

For the first time, we polled the job performance of our three statewide elected officials. Governor Lee remains extremely popular with 48% of Tennesseans approving of his job performance as governor and only 28% disapproving (+20%). While Governor Lee is very popular among Republicans (+56%) and Independents (+9%), he remains fairly unpopular among Democrats (-24%).

Senators Blackburn and Hagerty also do well with Tennessee voters. Senator Blackburn’s job performance (+13%) has the approval of 41% of Tennesseans while 28% disapprove. Senator Blackburn fares best among Republicans (+49%) and worst among Democrats (-36%). Senator Hagerty’s job performance is an identical 13 points above water, however, fewer people had an opinion on him, with only 34% of Tennesseans approving of his job performance and 21% disapproving of it. While only 55% of Tennesseans have an opinion on Senator Hagerty, he actually polled the highest (-21%) among Democrats compared to both Lee and Blackburn.

When asked which most closely aligns with their own views, 58% of Tennesseans say they support capitalism as it promotes freedom and economic growth, while only 9% support socialism because it seeks to ensure equality. As expected, support for capitalism is strongest among Republicans (+66%) and Independents (+52%). However, Democrats also support capitalism at a much higher rate than socialism (+15%). Eighteen percent of voters say they see both the benefits and the drawbacks of capitalism and socialism.

Tennessee’s state business tax applies to any business whose revenue is over $100,000 and is based on revenue, not profit. The Beacon Poll found that most Tennesseans support reforming this tax. A plurality of voters (36%) believe the business tax should be reduced for smaller businesses. Additionally, 15% of voters believe the tax should be reduced for all businesses and 7% want to eliminate the tax completely. Sixteen percent believe the tax should remain unchanged, and 8% of voters believe we should increase the tax to provide more public services.

There has been a lot of talk about Taylor Swift and her potential impact on the 2024 election, so we decided to poll it. While most Tennesseans are not fans of Taylor Swift (57%), a large minority of the state considers themselves Swifties (37%). The polling data indicates that Taylor Swift has some influence among her fans, who are more likely to support Democratic candidates and participate in elections. Taylor Swift fans are more positively influenced by her endorsements (12%) than negatively (5%).

With a constant stream of commercials from sports betting websites like Fan Duel and Draft Kings, we wanted to see how Tennesseans feel about sports betting. While only 25% of voters participate in sports betting, Tennesseans support the legality and practice of sports betting (+23%). Forty-two percent of Tennesseans support legal sports betting, 19% oppose it, and 28% are neutral or have mixed feelings about it.

You can read the full poll with party crosstabs here.
You can read the full poll with demographic and regional crosstabs here.
You can read the full poll of likely voters here.
You can read the full poll of Taylor Swift fans here.