A new poll of Republican voters in Tennessee shows Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) trailing a generic “conservative” challenger by 5 points. The poll, obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, shows a “credible conservative candidate” leading Alexander 49.5-44.9%. While a serious opponent hasn’t yet emerged to challenge Alexander, the poll shows how vulnerable he is in next year’s August primary.
The poll, from Triton Polling, interviewed over 680 Republican voters in the Volunteer State last week. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.
Around 64% of Republican voters, at least somewhat, approve of the job Alexander is doing, an unsurprising result for a Republican incumbent. Only 27% view Alexander as “conservative,” however. 65% of Republican voters view him as “moderate” or “liberal.” These are the views of Republican voters, 51% of whom identify themselves as “very conservative.” In total, over 85% of Republican voters consider themselves at least somewhat conservative.
Any incumbent polling in the 40s is in a weak position. Alexander’s position is particularly vulnerable, however, because the base voters view his ideological orientation as distinct from their own. Just over 30% of Republican voters say they will “definitely” vote to renominate Alexander next year.
After the head-to-head match-up question, which, again Alexander lost, the poll then has several “push” questions, testing possible messages against Alexander. Ranging from “voting with Obama 62% of the time” to “supporting amnesty” for 11 million illegals, each finds around 70% of Republican voters “less likely” to support Alexander.
Of course, Alexander can’t lose the primary if he doesn’t have a challenger. BEAT LAMAR, a grass roots effort opposed to Alexander’s reelection is holding a candidate forum on August 31st, to begin the vetting process of selecting a conservative opponent for the primary.
“Everybody has agreed that we need to get behind a single candidate and put our efforts behind someone who can challenge Lamar, debate his public record and basically just push back against the Republican establishment that is trying to bully and intimidate anyone who wants to run against him,” Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham told The Tennessean.
This latest poll may tempt more seasoned candidates into the race. Ralph Bristol, a popular talk radio host in Tennessee, told Breitbart News, “If a strong, articulate, conservative who has been vetted and tested in lower office were to mount a challenge, and attracted Tea Party support, I’m convinced Lamar is at least as vulnerable as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) or Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), probably more so.”