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Blackburn Climbs Into Lead In Tennessee Senate Race

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Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has climbed into the lead in a key Senate race in Tennessee, according to the results of a NBC News/Marist poll.

The poll showed Blackburn with a 51 percent to 46 percent lead over former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen among likely Tennessee voters.

The latest results reflect a turnaround from a NBC/Marist poll conducted in late August showing Bredesen edging Blackburn by 48 percent to 46 percent.

Blackburn has a narrower 49 percent to 46 percent lead over Bredesen among a larger group of registered voters, although that still reflects a notable reversal from the previous poll.

While 7 percent of likely voters are either undecided or may change their mind before Election Day, Blackburn holds a significant 11-point lead among the 35 percent of likely voters who have already cast a ballot.

The advantage for Blackburn comes even though her favorability rating among likely voters is split, with 45 percent having a favorable opinion of the congresswoman and 46 percent having an unfavorable opinion.

Fifty-two percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Bredesen, but that is down from 61 percent in late August. The percentage of likely voters with an unfavorable opinion of Bredesen has also jumped to 39 percent from 22 percent.

"The Senate contest in Tennessee presents an unusual picture in that the Democrat, Bredesen, is better liked than his Republican opponent Blackburn, yet trails in the head-to-head matchup," said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

He added, "Shaping this contest is the popularity of President Trump and the desire of Tennessee voters to keep the GOP in control of Congress."

The poll showed 52 percent of registered voters prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans, while 39 percent prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats. Eight percent are unsure.

The NBC/Marist survey of 910 Tennessee adults was conducted October 23rd through 27th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

Among 764 registered voters, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points and the margin of error among 471 likely voters is plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.

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