Cumberland debate - 9/25/18

U.S. Senate candidates Marsha Blackburn, left, and Phil Bredesen held their first debate on Sept. 25 at Cumberland University. (Photos: AP/Pool)

The Senate contest in Tennessee appears to be shifting in the Republican's favor, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS.

Republican Marsha Blackburn has overtaken former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. In the new poll, 49 percent back Blackburn, 45 percent Bredesen. That reflects a reversal since a mid-September CNN poll found Bredesen with a five-point edge over Blackburn.

Men and independents are now less apt to say they support Bredesen, with the Democrat's backing among men dropping from 42 percent in September to 36 percent now. Among independents, Bredesen has gone from 54 percent support in September to 47 percent now.

RELATED: Full Tennessee poll results

Although few likely voters in the state say they could change their minds between now and Election Day, Bredesen does hold one advantage in the poll: he is viewed far more positively than Blackburn. While his favorability rating is net positive by 15 points, likely voters in Tennessee are about evenly divided on Blackburn, 48 percent see her favorably, 46 percent unfavorably.

Amid this bump for the Republican candidates in these two states, President Donald Trump also sees an uptick in his approval rating, especially among likely voters. A majority approve in Tennessee: 53 percent of likely voters say they approve of the way the President is handling his job, while 42 percent disapprove.

Health care tops the list of issues voters are considering when deciding their Senate vote. In Tennessee, 32% of likely voters call it their top issue. The economy and immigration follow in both states.

Tennessee's governor race remains relatively uncompetitive with Bill Lee, the Republican, leading Democrat Karl Dean by 10 points among likely voters - 52 percent to 42 percent, about the same as in September.

The CNN poll in Tennessee was conducted by SSRS Oct. 24-29 among random statewide samples reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample of 1,004 respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. It is 4.3 for results among the 764 likely voters.

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