Monday, April 21, 2014 · 5:50 a.m.
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Two polls released Wednesday differ on how much support Sen. Lamar Alexander has going into the 2014 election season.

Sen. Lamar Alexander. (Photo: Staff)

A poll by Vanderbilt University shows the Tennessee senator with an overall approval rating of 49 percent. It’s 57 percent amongst Republicans. He received higher marks from Democrats and independents—45 and 48 percent, respectively—than he did from members of the tea party, which was 42 percent.

Alexander faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Joe Carr, who is backed by several tea party groups in Tennessee. The Vanderbilt survey shows Alexander with significantly higher approval than Carr.

Another poll commissioned by a potential Democratic challenger, Terry Adams, a Knoxville attorney, shows much lower support for the incumbent senator amongst Tennesseans. The Public Policy Polling survey puts Alexander’s favorability at 37 percent overall and 50 percent amongst Republicans.

The PPP poll gives Alexander a 6 point lead over Carr, according to results released by Adams’ campaign.

As the Nashville Scene notes, the methodology used by PPP is often criticized by other polling firms. The Democratic-leaning firm's pre-election polls gave Barack Obama higher support nationwide before the 2012 election. But after the ballots were cast, PPP was deemed the most accurate pollster in the election.

"The Vanderbilt poll is close to our internal numbers, and the PPP poll is in another universe," said Whit Ayres, pollster for Alexander and other Senate Republicans. "Sen. Alexander continues to have strong support across the board, especially among conservative, Republican and tea party voters.”

Updated @ 6:16 p.m. on 12/12/13 to add more information as it became available.

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