NASHVILLE - Donald Trump has a sizable lead over Hillary Clinton in Tennessee one month before the presidential election, according to a new Vanderbilt University poll that reaffirms what most prognosticators expected in the politically red state.
Trump, the Republican nominee, has support of 44 percent of Tennessee registered voters, the poll found, compared to 33 percent Clinton, the Democratic nominee.
The poll found 7 percent of respondents support Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and 1 percent support Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Seven percent said they didn't know who they would vote for and 5 percent said they would not vote at all or backed another candidate.
The poll, a survey of 1,000 registered voters with a margin or error of 3.4 percent, was taken between Sept. 19 and Oct. 2. The first presidential debate occurred during those dates, but it had little effect on preferences of voters.
The release of the Vanderbilt poll comes two days after Middle Tennessee State University released a poll that showed a similarly sized lead for Trump. The latter had Trump, a celebrity real estate mogul, with support of 48 percent of Tennessee voters and Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, at 36 percent here.
Trump’s biggest stronghold, according to the Vanderbilt poll, is in Republican-heavy East Tennessee, where he leads Clinton by a 53 percent to 28 percent margin. Clinton leads Trump in the Nashville area by a 40 to 38 percent and also leads Trump in West Tennessee, which includes Democratic-dominant Memphis, by a 46 to 28 percent margin.
“People are locked in,” said John Geer, a political scientist and Vanderbilt who oversaw the poll. “They have their preferences and they’re not going to shift them very much, barring a cataclysmic event. Tennessee is going to go Republican. There’s no debate about that.”
Trump is outperforming Clinton with rural voters who identify as being religious, according to the Vanderbilt poll, evidence of his high marks with evangelical voters.
Not surprisingly, Trump is doing well with Tennessee voters who describe themselves as angry with the direction of the country, capturing 73 percent of that electorate in Tennessee. Clinton leads with voters who said they are “content” with the direction of the country, netting 66 percent of this group.
Also reflecting a national trend, 74 percent of Trump supporters said they back him for his ability to bring change. Forty-eight percent of Clinton supporters cited her personality and temperament.
Trump is doing best among millennial voters in Tennessee, the Vanderbilt poll found, with support from 38 percent of Tennessee voters, followed by 28 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Reach Joey Garrison at 615-259-8236 and on Twitter @joeygarrison.