NASHVILLE - A new poll finds that a slim majority of Tennessee voters - 45.7% to 43.6% - think Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election over then-President Donald Trump despite the results having been certified in Tennessee and across the U.S.
The survey of 1,125 registered voters, conducted April 8-11 by Embold Research on behalf of the Tennessee Democracy Forum, also asked voters whether they believe the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol were a legitimate form of political discourse or an insurrection.
Fifty-one percent said they thought Jan. 6 was a legitimate form of discourse while 49% said they saw it as an insurrection. The survey had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.2 percentage points.
Results of the poll will be a topic of discussion in a virtual online forum in the Tennessee Democracy Forum's first Conversation on Democracy, which will feature former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who backed Biden in 2020, and former U.S. Ambassador Norm Eisen, a Democrat who are co-chairs of the States United Democracy Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m.
The event also includes an in-person component for invited attendees at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"The great divide among Tennessee voters on the outcome of the 2020 election and what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, is precisely why we need conversations about democracy in this state," said Emily Eichenthal, Tennessee Democracy Forum Coordinator in a news release. "The first step to rebuilding our democracy is to start a real dialogue about democracy."
Four additional events are planned around other poll questions.
'Who won?' question
Here's how survey participants' responses stacked up on the question "Regardless of who you voted for, who do you think won the 2020 presidential election?":
Among all voters surveyed, 45.7% responded Biden, 43.6% responded Trump and 10.7% were unsure.
Women (49% - 41%) were more likely to respond that Biden had won than men (42% - 46%).
Older Tennesseans – 65-years old and older – were more likely to believe that Trump won (50% - 41%). Younger voters – 18-34-years old – were more likely to believe that Biden won (52% - 35%).
A majority of white voters (50% - 39%) responded that Trump was the winner, while a larger majority of Black voters (83% - 9%) responded that Biden was the winner.
An overwhelming majority (97%) of Biden 2020 voters stated that Biden had won, compared to 76% of Trump 2020 voters who stated that Trump was the winner.
A majority of urban (76%) and suburban (53%) voters responded that Biden had won the election, compared to 32% of rural voters.
Views of Jan. 6
The same poll asked Tennessee voters: "Which of the following comes closest to your views on the events of Jan. 6, 2021, even if neither is exactly right?"
Among all voters, 51% responded "The events of Jan. 6, 2021, were a legitimate form of political discourse" and 49% responded, "The events of Jan. 6, 2021, were an insurrection."
Men (56% - 44%) were more likely to respond that Jan. 6 was a legitimate form of political discourse than women (46% - 54%).
Older Tennesseans – 65-years old and older – were more likely to believe that Jan. 6 was a legitimate form of political discourse (55% - 45%%). Younger voters – 18-34 years old – were more likely to believe that Jan. 6 was an insurrection (57% - 43%).
A majority of white voters (56% - 44%) characterized Jan. 6 as a legitimate form of political discourse, while a larger majority of Black voters (82% - 18%) called it an insurrection.
The overwhelming majority of Biden 2020 voters (95%) and a small minority of Trump 2020 voters (15%) characterized Jan. 6 as an insurrection, while 85% of Trump 2020 voters and 5% of Biden 2020 voters characterized it as a legitimate form of political discourse.
Among voters without a college degree, 57% characterized Jan. 6 as a legitimate form of political discourse and 60% of voters with a college degree characterized it as an insurrection.
A majority of urban (75%) and suburban (55%) voters responded that Jan. 6 was an insurrection, compared to 38% of rural voters.
Next week's discussion is one of five planned, hourlong events on these and other poll findings of economic and political democracy focusing on ongoing national and statewide issues. Each conversation will be done via livestream as well as in person, with the Chattanooga event to be held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The virtual conversation is open to the public and will offer opportunities for questions and answers from the audience.
To register visit bit.ly/DemocracyConversation.