Marsha Blackburn leads Phil Bredesen

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

Chairman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., conducts a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee markup in Rayburn Building on June 13, 2018. 

Republican Marsha Blackburn has pulled ahead of Democrat Phil Bredesen in the race for Senate in Tennessee, one of the few states where Democrats have a chance to pick up a seat this year, a new poll found.

The GOP representative leads the state’s former Democratic governor by 5 percentage points among likely voters, according to the NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday. Blackburn garners 51 percent of support, while Bredesen draws 46 percent and 3 percent are undecided, the survey found. Her standing improved since September, when Bredesen led by 2 percentage points among likely voters in an NBC/Marist survey.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points for the likely voter sample.

Bredesen, who last won a statewide election in 2006, has run as a centrist and pledged to protect access to health care and social safety net programs. He has said he will side with President Donald Trump on some issues. Bredesen has mounted a strong bid to flip the red seat, which his friend, retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker, currently holds.

Blackburn has run an unabashedly pro-Trump campaign in a state the president won by about 25 percentage points in 2016. In the race’s closing days, she has joined the president in stoking concerns about immigration and tried to cast Bredesen as too liberal for the state.

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