Nearly two-thirds of Tennessee Republicans approve of the job Sen. Lamar Alexander is doing, according to a new poll released yesterday, in what could be an early step toward a bid for a third term.
Alexander is expected to decide by the end of this year whether to run for re-election again in 2020. Showing that he's popular now could scare off possible challengers and persuade potential donors to get behind him.
The state's senior senator is currently 78. But age is only one factor potentially weighing against him. Alexander has been seen as potentially vulnerable since his last run in 2014, when he won the GOP primary against fragmented and poorly funded competition by just 9 percentage points.
But North Star Opinion Research, a firm that frequently does polling for Alexander, argues that he could survive that test again in 2020. It found that 65 percent of GOP primary voters hold a favorable opinion of Alexander and 69 percnt approve of his job performance.
"Sen. Alexander is in a strong position to win the Republican nomination for Senate should he decide to run again in 2020," pollsters conclude. "He is very likely to win the general election as well given the strong Republican leanings of the state and his general election performance in the past."
The poll was conducted in late November. It carries a margin of error of 4 percentage points.