Although Bill Clinton managed to win Tennessee for the Democrats in the 1990s, his success was due in no small part to the presence of Tennessee-native Al Gore on the ticket.
The state has been leaning ever more heavily to the Republicans since then, to the extent that when Gore himself ran for the presidency in 2000, he could not win his home state.
John Kerry won even fewer votes in Tennessee in 2004 and his party failed to pick up open senate seats in 2002 and 2006. The state governor is a Democrat, however, as are five of the state's nine House representatives, but they are unlikely to be able to stop Republican John McCain winning here in November.
Population: 6,038,803 (ranked 17 among states)
Governor: Phil Bredesen (D)
Electoral college votes: 11
The swing to the Republicans in Tennessee is due in part to the recent flow of manufacturing investment from firms such as Nissan and General Motors into the state's central heartland around Nashville, which has softened the traditional Democratic loyalties of the area.
Prior to that, Tennessee's Democratic traditions ran deep. Andrew Jackson, the founder of the modern Democratic Party who was President from 1829 to 1837, had practised as a lawyer in Tennessee, and his Indian removal policy was implemented with particular vigour here.
The expulsion of thousands of Cherokee Indians from their ancestral homes was one of the darkest periods in the history of the United States' relationship with native Americans.
House of Representatives:
5 Democrat, 4 Republican
Senate: 2 Republican
In the 1930s, the face of Tennessee was changed by two major developments. The first, the Tennessee Valley Authority, was established in 1933 as a Depression-era means of planning development in the Tennessee Valley; it did so mainly by building hydroelectric damns and coal-fired power plants.
The other development, the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was equally disruptive to residents.
Today, two of Tennessee's cities are music centres - country music in Nashville, and blues in Memphis. The latter also boasts Graceland, the home of one of the state's most famous exports: Elvis Presley.
2004: Bush 57%, Kerry 43%
2000: Bush 51%, Gore 47%
1996: Clinton 48%, Dole 46%
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