The final Tennessee Senate polls show a race that is deadlocked and the potential that the “Taylor Swift effect” could help Democrat Phil Bredesen pull off an upset victory.
The race gained national attention after singer Taylor Swift broke her long political silence to endorse Bredesen, giving him a boost in the polls. As the Independent noted, the final polls in the Tennessee Senate race show that Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn are within the margin of error.
As Fox News Insider noted, there are signs that Swift’s endorsement of Bredesen could have a real difference on the race. Taylor followed up her endorsement with a picture of herself voting, and it’s seemed to have a real effect on young voters who are inspired to vote and to let Taylor know about it.
“She early-voted, she took a picture of herself early-voting, put it on her Twitter feed, put it out there on Instagram. And now when young people are voting down, they send their picture to her and Taylor Swift is putting it out on her social media,” said Wall Street Journal political editor Jeanne Cummings. “So they’re being seen by millions of people. Even if you don’t care about politics, for some of them it’s just going to be pretty cool to get on Taylor Swift’s Instagram and to get a ‘way to go’ from Taylor Swift.”
As the poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight noted, it still appeared to be an uphill battle for Phil Bredesen, even with later polls showing a deadlocked race. Though he had a slim lead in the final polls released, Blackburn had led in every other poll within the past several weeks.
The site forecasts that Blackburn has a nearly 80 percent chance of winning the race, but there could be a caveat. Analyst Nate Silver also noted that Democratic candidates in all Senate races could have a boost if there is a fundamental flaw with polling that could underestimate turnout among younger voters.
Though the “Taylor Swift effect” may not show up in the final polls in the Tennessee Senate race, there are signs that she could have inspired this younger subset of voters who often are not reflected in polling. The state saw a dramatic jump in first-time voter registration after her surprise endorsement last month, Forbes noted. Whether they show up in numbers high enough for a Democrat in a traditionally red state remains a question for election day.