JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There’s two weeks to go before Mississippi’s gubernatorial election, and according to the latest Mason-Dixon poll, Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves holds a slight lead over Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.
Statewide, 46% of likely voters support Reeves, 43% back Hood, 2% support other candidates and 9% are still undecided.
The contest is strongly divided along racial lines, with Hood leading 80%-7% among African-American voters and Reeves ahead by a wide 66%-24% margin among whites. Reeves also leads among men, voters 50 years and older and Republicans. Hood has the advantage among women, voters under 50, Democrats and Independents.
In this close race, President Donald Trump could be the deciding factor. Trump remains popular in Mississippi and efforts by congressional Democrats to impeach him are opposed by a significant majority of state voters.
Statewide, 54% approve of Trump’s job performance as president and 56% are opposed to impeaching him and removing him from office.
The hyper-partisan situation in Washington could hurt Hood in this strong red state. His previous success at winning statewide office as a moderate-to conservative Democrat is faced with a tougher than usual battle. The strong leftward drift of Hood’s national party makes it more difficult to generate crossover support.
Meanwhile, the GOP is attempting to nationalize this year’s three southern governor’s races into a show of support for the president in his fights against House Democrats.
In Louisiana, Trump’s last minute campaigning in that state’s primary helped boost GOP voter turnout and forced popular moderate-to-conservative incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards into a run-off. This higher GOP turnout also drove the two leading Republican challengers to a combined vote that exceeded 50%.
Trump will be campaigning in Mississippi in an attempt to repeat that outcome, and if he replicates the impact of his Louisiana performance, it should give Reeves a significant boost.
HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED
This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from October 17 through October 19, 2019. A total of 625 registered Mississippi voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All said they were likely to vote in the November 2019 statewide general election.
Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Mississippi voter registration list that included both land line and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turnout by county.
The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ± 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or age grouping.