Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is well ahead of his Republican primary challenger but polling under 50 percent a few months ahead of his August primary, a new poll provided exclusively to Breitbart News shows.
Alexander leads Tea Party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr 44-20, the Triton Polling poll of approximately 1037 likely GOP primary voters and conducted Wednesday this week found. The poll was commissioned by Tea Party Nation.
Polling in the race has been sparse, but the new poll shows higher support for Carr and lower support for Alexander than other surveys. A February North Star Strategies poll had Alexander up 62-17 while one released last week from the same firm had Alexander up 56-14.
Alexander’s approval rating in the new poll – voters who either strongly or somewhat approve of his job performance – was 57 percent approval rating.
Carr’s name ID is rising in the state. 68 percent of Tennessee GOP primary voters know Carr the poll found. Twenty percent had a positive impression of him while 8 percent had a negative impression. Thirty-eight percent had no opinion on him.
Other candidates–like Dr. George Flinn, who has been suspected of being a spoiler candidate Alexander brought in to weaken Carr’s chances–barely register in the poll.
More than 57 percent of GOP primary voters say they would either “very likely” or “likely” support a conservative challenger to Alexander, and 25 percent answered they weren’t sure when asked that question–so it seems Carr’s biggest challenge between now and election day in early August is raising his name ID. Only 14.5 percent said it was unlikely or very unlikely they’d support a conservative challenger to Alexander, while 3.4 percent said they weren’t sure or didn’t know.
Judson Phillips, the head of Tea Party Nation who is backing Carr in the race, said he was encouraged by the results.
“It is stunning that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who served two terms as Tennessee governor, who has run twice for President, was the Education Secretary and now is on his third Senate election, is only preferred by 44% of the voters,” Phillips told Breitbart News. “His name ID in Tennessee is almost universal. Perhaps a stronger indication of Alexander’s weakness is the fact that almost 60% of the voters would consider a more conservative alternative to Alexander.”
Phillips touted Carr’s grassroots operation–Tea Party groups statewide are working alongside Carr’s campaign–as key to him building the name ID to overcome Alexander.
“Joe Carr has something Alexander could only dream about having,” Phillips said. “He has a significant grassroots organization out working to defeat his opponent. Alexander has more money but money cannot buy you happiness nor can it buy elections.”