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The Swift Effect is all bark and no bite

The Swift Effect is all bark and no bite

馃搳 Beacon Center's newest poll 路聽Dark red dot 路聽GOP infighting 路聽Memphis murders 路 Much more!

This morning, the Beacon Center released the results of their most recent poll, conducted between March 15th and April 2nd. A quick glance reveals 50 percent of participants are dissatisfied with K-12 public education in Tennessee and鈥攃olor us surprised鈥70 percent are not happy with the state鈥檚 pothole repairs.

The flashiest question in the survey asked respondents whether Taylor Swift鈥檚 endorsement of a candidate would impact their vote: not only did 81 percent say it wouldn鈥檛 influence their choice at all, 5 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for any candidate who had her seal of approval.

Only 12 percent said they鈥檇 take heed of Swift鈥檚 endorsements and cast a matching ballot 鈥 barely a third of the 37 percent polled who identified as Swifties. Quite the contrast to Newsweek鈥檚 nationwide poll from January, which found that 18 percent of respondents were "more likely" or "significantly more likely" to vote for a Swift-approved candidate.

The bad blood between Tennessee voters and Swift doesn鈥檛 stop at party politics. A whopping 57 percent of those polled said they are not T. Swift fans. This includes 66 percent of Republicans polled, 40 percent of Democrats, and 60 percent of independents.

Of the 1,197 registered Tennessee voters polled, Four months into his sixth year in office, Governor Lee remains popular with a 48 percent overall approval rating. Among Republicans, the governor receives a 19-point boost: 67 percent approve of him, while only 40 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats are content with his job performance.

Senator Hagerty didn鈥檛 fare as well, earning a 34 percent total approval rating, while Senator Blackburn, up for reelection this year, did a bit better, earning 41 percent. As for her Democratic opponents, presumptive candidate Gloria Johnson maintained a strong 31 point lead over her opponent Marquita Bradshaw; however, when pitted against Blackburn, Johnson still fell 24 points short in the general election. All in all, however, many Tennesseans are still up in the air: a whopping 34 percent of registered voters polled were undecided when it came to November鈥檚 Senate race.

In a showdown exclusively between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Trump came out ahead, with 60 percent of registered voters ready to cast a ballot for the former president. Only 31 percent said they would pull the lever for Joe Biden, while 9 percent remained undecided. When Robert F. Kennedy Jr. enters the race, things get interesting: the independent candidate snagged votes from both major party candidates, receiving 16 percent support, stealing 12 percent of Trump鈥檚 vote and 6 percent of Biden鈥檚. 

Of the registered Tennessee voters polled, 44 percent said they are economically worse off than they were a year ago; 45 percent expect the US economy to slow or go into a recession. Interestingly, 49 percent agreed that Tennessee鈥檚 government is a good model for other states to follow. 

And, last but not least, when asked how federal tax policy should be adjusted to better serve the country, 36 percent of respondents said they鈥檇 lower taxes for all to stimulate the economy; 26 percent said they鈥檇 increase taxes on higher income earners to support wealth redistribution; and 19 percent said they鈥檇 simplify the tax code to reduce compliance costs and confusion. A negligible 3 percent said they鈥檇 increase spending on public services, even if it meant raising taxes. From Megan Podsiedlik


馃敶 The Dark Red Dot I've noticed that when someone in media wants to focus on the negative aspects of of Tennessee's political climate, they hone in on Sumner County. Anne Applebaum, who has written extensively on the history of communism in Eastern Europe, put Sumner County at the center of her piece last summer for The Atlantic. Titled "Is Tennessee a Democracy?," the Sumner County Constitutional Republicans take center stage. Since taking control of the county commission, the group has sought to protect the area from over-development and initiated a number of fiscally conservative measures to curb spending. In a recent NBJ article, Nashville attorney Tom White cited Sumner County as a place where an "anti-growth attitude" had taken root, posing a problem for developers and squeezing housing supply, driving up prices. Commonly maligned as "far right," the Constitutional Republicans appear to have a new opponent. The Sumner County Republican Freedom Caucus says it fights for "true conservative values" as well as "responsible growth" with backing from figures such as David Black 鈥 CEO, chairman and co-founder of Aegis Sciences Corp and husband to US Congresswoman Diane Black. Additionally, 35 percent of the funds raised come from donors with ties to the real estate industry. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Republicans are now facing allegations that their activities require them to register as a political action committee. 

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馃棾锔 More Republican Infighting After the Trump campaign sent a strongly worded letter threatening the Tennessee Republican Party if they removed 鈥渟everal Trump delegates and alternates from their duly-elected positions鈥 due to their bonafide party status, the TRP met on Saturday to figure out what to do with the twelve delegates in question. Party rules require candidates to vote in at least three of the last four statewide GOP primaries. Ultimately, they decided to waive the bonafide requirement for delegates who weren't old enough to have voted in the required number of elections, vacating the remaining eight seats of delegates who didn't meet the requirements.

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馃敘 By the Numbers The Memphis Police Department disclosed that they鈥檇 recorded100 homicides by April 9th 鈥 exactly 100 days into 2024. The city had the highest homicide rate in the country last year. You might remember that Mayor Paul Young, who pledged to roll out a series of tough-on-crime initiatives within his first 100 days in office, tried to broker a seven-day ceasefire between the Memphis gangs. Said the gang members of why they do what they do: 鈥淲e don鈥檛 have things to do, so we go out, we steal cars, and we ride around with our friends,鈥 Young recounted during a press conference after the meeting.

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馃摗 Of General Interest Uri Berliner, who spent 25 years at National Public Radio, penned an insightful piece for The Free Press on what has changed at the station:

It鈥檚 true NPR has always had a liberal bent, but during most of my tenure here, an open-minded, curious culture prevailed. We were nerdy, but not knee-jerk, activist, or scolding.

In recent years, however, that has changed. Today, those who listen to NPR or read its coverage online find something different: the distilled worldview of a very small segment of the U.S. population.

He uses Covid, Russiagate, and the Hunter Biden laptop to explore how employees at the company got caught up in the Orange Man Bad hysteria so bad, they started lying to their listeners.


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View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.


馃幐 Primus, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle @ FirstBank Amphitheater, 8p, $72+, Info

馃獣 Green River Revue @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

馃幐 Nash Hamilton @ The Basement, 7p, $12.85, Info

馃幐 Josh Abbott Band @ Exit/In, 7p, $33.29, Info

馃獣 Bluegrass Night @ The American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info