NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennesseans’ approval for both Gov. Bill Lee and President Joe Biden is waning among registered voters, according to a recently-released poll from Vanderbilt University. Support for former President Donald Trump to run in 2024 is also lagging, according to the results.
Poll co-directors John Geer, and Josh Clinton say the findings align with national trends of declining support for the president, even among Democrats and Independents, which they say could be attributed to the “malaise” over rising inflation and pandemic recover-related stressors in the Volunteer State.
“There’s a general dissatisfaction with the direction of the country right now, and we pick that up in a lot of different ways – whether it be in the national poll or in how people are viewing local leaders,” Geer said. “One of the themes our latest poll shows is that here in Tennessee, there is a declining appetite to have a replay of the 2020 presidential election in 2024.”
Among Democrats, 79% of those polled said they approve of Biden’s performance, while last year 92% voiced support for him. Only 31% of all those polled approved of Biden’s performance—down from 39% last year around this time—and a mere 25% said they hope Biden runs for reelection.
Furthermore, just 38% of those polled said they want Trump to run for U.S. president in 2024, a drop from 44% in December 2021. While Republicans are much more supportive of a 2024 Trump campaign than Democrats, they, too, showed declining interest; 68% supported the idea, down 11 points from December 2021.
Though unhappy about the national leadership, Tennessee voters remain largely pleased with the governor, although his popularity has dipped slightly. Governor Lee earned a 56% approval rating from respondents, down from last year’s level of support but still similar to results of a December 2021 poll. Lee would get another term in office from 80% of Republicans compared to just 7% of Democrats.
The poll also asked registered voters about the subject of criminal justice reform. The poll said 70% of registered voters in Tennessee think the criminal justice system needs “a complete overhaul” or “major changes” nationally and in Tennessee.
Democrats are slightly more likely to hold these beliefs (82%), but even most Republicans (63%) also expressed “a strong desire” for criminal justice reform.
Another national issue still at the forefront of respondents’ minds is abortion, particularly after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court suggested the conservative majority would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
According to the poll, 48% of Tennesseans self-identified as being pro-choice, while 50% identified as pro-life. Overall, 36% of respondents said abortion should be legal in all cases, while 70% of Democrats polled favored keeping abortion legal and only eight percent of Republicans prefer pro-choice legislation.
The full results of the poll, including an in-depth breakdown of the results, are available here.