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A new poll released this week by the campaign of Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen (D) appears to indicate that the 9th district Democratic primary isn’t shaping up to be the tight contest as many have predicted.

The survey, conducted April 21-24 by Lake Research Partners, shows Cohen winning by a wide margin in a head-to-head matchup with his top two Democratic challengers, Nikki Tinker, who was the runner-up to Cohen in the 2006 Democratic primary, and state Rep. Joe Towns (D).

Cohen, who is the only white House Member to represent a majority-black district, earned 63 percent. Tinker, who is black and spent four years as campaign manager for the district’s former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D), took 11 percent, and Towns, who is also black, received 5 percent. The survey of 400 likely Democratic primary voters had a 4.9-point error margin.

Tinker supporters have been hyping her chances this cycle because of this year’s smaller primary field. Last cycle, Cohen was the lone top-tier white candidate in a contest with almost a dozen black candidates. This year, the Democratic primary field is down to five candidates, including Cohen.

The poll also found that Cohen had an 87 percent favorable rating among both black and white voters. Tinker earned a 40 percent favorable and 16 percent unfavorable rating while 44 percent had no opinion or had never heard of her.

—John McArdle

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