Did Taylor Swift’s Instagram post help a Democratic candidate’s chances of winning an election?
Phil Bredesen, a former governor of Tennessee and the Democratic nominee hoping to become that state’s next U.S. Senator, is currently leading his Republican opponent Rep. Marsha Blackburn in what appears to be a tightening race.
In a Vanderbilt University poll conducted from October 8-13, Bredesen was the candidate of choice for 44 percent of respondents, versus Blackburn’s 43 percent.
The margin between the two candidates is smaller than the margin of error, which is plus or minus 4.9 percent. This means that the election is statistically a dead heat, at least according to the Vanderbilt University poll.
Although there’s no clear leader in the race at this moment, the fact that it’s a close one at all is a big feat — considering that Bredesen had been trailing Blackburn by as many as 14 points in prior weeks, according to Real Clear Politics.
There’s reason for some to suspect that the bump for Bredesen may be due in part to Taylor Swift’s Instagram post. On October 7 — the day before Vanderbilt University began questioning Tennessee voters in its poll — Swift urged her fans to register to vote, and told residents from her home state that she unequivocally supported Democratic candidates. She specifically named Bredesen as her choice for Senator, per previous reporting from the Inquisitr.
THANK YOU, TAYLOR SWIFT! ????https://t.co/awN4WPoIHx
— Christopher J. Hale (@chrisjollyhale) October 18, 2018
Swift said that her commitment to fairness for the LGBT community and for people of color was a driving force in her selection.
“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love.”
In addition to other candidates, Swift put her full endorsement behind the Democratic senate candidate. “I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate,” she wrote.
It’s possible that Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen has helped to increase his chances in the midterm elections. It’s impossible to know, however, because the Vanderbilt University poll did not specifically ask respondents how they felt about Swift — or whether she had influenced their choice. One could be forgiven for believing as much, however, given that voter registration numbers sharply spiked after Swift asked her followers to register to vote.
There’s always a spike in voter registration in October, a spokesman for Vote.org said, according to reporting from Roll Call. But a hitherto unseen influx of younger voters to the site was unprecedented, he suggested, saying that Swift’s post “might have been what pushed many of those 18-24-year-old voters over the line to register.”