Trump Hasn't Dampened Enthusiasm Of Republican Voters, Vanderbilt Poll Finds | Nashville Public Radio

Trump Hasn't Dampened Enthusiasm Of Republican Voters, Vanderbilt Poll Finds

Oct 6, 2016

There's no evidence that Tennessee Republicans will stay home this election because of their disagreements with Donald Trump.

A Vanderbilt poll released Thursday finds that, even though Trump's support in Tennessee lags behind Mitt Romney's four years ago, the billionaire businessman's voters are still more enthusiastic than Hillary Clinton's.

In 2012, Romney won the state with 60 percent of the vote. Trump remains at 44 percent in the Vanderbilt poll — exactly where he was in May when the polling was last conducted.

Clinton is roughly where she was a few months ago, too, with one-third of the vote. And Clinton's supporters are less excited about voting for her than those who say Trump is their candidate, the poll finds.

The latest Vanderbilt Poll was conducted on phones and cell phones between Sept. 19 and Oct. 2.
Credit VU Poll

"Any issues Republicans may have had have gone away," says poll co-director Josh Clinton.

"Both sides are equally enthusiastic. You ask them how certain they are about who they're going to vote for, and both Clinton and Trump supporters are basically locked in. They're just as certain that they're going to vote for their candidates. So there's not any kind of wiggle room."

More: See all of the slides from Vanderbilt's poll ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Vanderbilt pollsters say reports of evangelicals leaving Trump are "greatly exaggerated," and any fear that down-ballot Republicans might be in trouble because Trump could keep people home are baseless.

"One of the things political science has known for 50 years at this point in time is partisanship is a stable, powerful predictor," poll co-director John Geer says. "This election certainly confirms that and, in some sense, puts it under stress — and it still performs."

Among Tennessee voters who consider themselves independents, the poll finds many more are flocking to Trump than Clinton.

The Vanderbilt poll shows a sizeable split between rural and urban areas in the state, with Clinton's support coming mostly from Nashville and Memphis. But in Davidson County, her lead is so slim that it's still within the poll's margin of error.

Vanderbilt pollsters warn against reading too much into the closeness of the race in Davidson County, since the poll was weighted to get a good sample statewide, not necessarily in a single county.
Credit VU Poll