As Trump’s unpopularity drags Republicans down nationwide, a new poll shows a Democrat could become Mississippi’s next governor.
For the second time since last month, a poll of Mississippi voters finds Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood – a Democrat – in striking distance of winning a bid for governor if he were to go up against Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves next year.
Reeves would lead Hood by just over 7 points if the election were held today, according to a Millsaps College/Chism Strategies survey. But with 20 percent undecided, Republicans have little reason to remain confident that they will hold the office.
If Democrats – energized over opposition to Trump and the Trump-era GOP – turn out in higher numbers than usual in 2019, that bodes even better for Hood. The Millsaps Poll is weighted based on 2015 turnout – a time when Republicans were the more energized party.
The new poll bolsters the findings of a close election in a Mason-Dixon Poll in December, which found Hood leading Reeves by 6 points.
Hood draws support from 10.5 percent of Republican voters, but Reeves draws half that from Democrats.
An average of the two polls gives Reeves a slim 0.6 point lead.
Mississippi Governor 2019: Jim Hood v. Tate ReevesMississippi Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood v. Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves.
|Dates||Pollster||Hood (D)||Reeves (R)||Result||Weighted Overall Average|
|Dec. 13-15, 2017||Mason Dixon||43||37||Hood +6||Hood 40.3
|Dec. 15-19, 2017||Millsaps College/Chism Strategies||37.5||44.7||Reeves +7.2|
Though Mississippi voters won’t choose a new governor until 2019, the prospect of such a close election is noteworthy. In 2015, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant beat his Democratic opponent by 34 points. In 2011, Bryant was elected by a nearly 22-point margin.
No Democratic candidate for governor has cracked 40 percent of the statewide vote in Mississippi since 2007, and the last time a Democrat lost by fewer than 10 points, it was when incumbent Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove lost re-election to Republican Haley Barbour by just under 7 points in 2003.
If Jim Hood won in 2019, he’d be the first Democrat to win the governor’s mansion in 20 years; the last Democrat elected to the governor’s house in Mississippi was Musgrove in 1999.
Hood, who was first elected in 2003, is the only statewide elected Democrat left in the state.
While Hood still faces a challenge if he wants to win a race for governor next year, the “Trump effect” is energizing Democratic voters across the country, even in places like Alabama, where voters sent Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate last month – the first Democrat in 25 years.
The Millsaps/Chism poll was conducted December 15-19 and surveyed 578 registered voters. It was demographically weighted based on the age, race, gender, and party of voters who turned out in the 2015 general election.