It looks like the race to watch in Mississippi on Tuesday night will be the state's proposed 'Personhood Amendment,' which would make the state's laws regarding abortion and birth control the strictest of any state in the country. Right now it looks like it could go either way, with 45% of voters supporting the amendment and 44% opposed.
Men (48-42), whites (54-37), and Republicans (65-28) support the proposal. But women (42-46), African Americans (26-59), Democrats (23-61), and independents (35-51) oppose it. The good news for those opposed to the amendment is that 11% of voters are undecided and their demographics are 58% women, 54% Democratic, and 42% black- those still on the fence disproportionately belong to voter groups that oppose the amendment. That suggests when those folks make up their minds the proposal could be narrowly defeated.
There should be less suspense in the Gubernatorial race. Republican Phil Bryant leads his Democratic opponent Johnny DuPree by 14 points, 54-40. The race is incredibly polarized along racial lines with Bryant up 74-20 with whites, while DuPree has an 80-11 advantage with African Americans. It's an unusual contest for this highly negative political climate in that voters have a positive opinion of both candidates: Bryant's favorability is 54/25 and DuPree's is 46/27. We don't see that very often.
The decisive factor in this race may be Haley Barbour. His 60/29 approval rating represents the best numbers we've found for any Governor in the country this year. When you have an incumbent leaving office that popular, you're usually not going to see voters eager to switch the party in power.
One finding on the poll that could be particularly bad news for Democrats is that they trail 49-38 on the generic legislative ballot. It's always hard to say how generic ballot results will translate to seats gained and lost, but with Democrats holding a narrow majority right now in the House of Representatives these numbers suggest that the GOP could gain control on Tuesday.
There's some better news for Democrats down ballot. Attorney General Jim Hood looks to be headed for reelection, leading his Republican opponent Steve Simpson by a 52-39 margin. In addition to having his party unified behind him Hood leads with independents and is taking an impressive 26% of the GOP vote. If Democrats are ever going to win a Gubernatorial or Senate race in Mississippi Hood is probably their guy. Things don't look as promising for the party in the Treasurer's contest. There Republican Lynn Fitch is leading with 54% to 35% for Democrat Connie Moran and 4% for Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara.
We also polled two other proposed constitutional amendments. A photo id requirement vote looks like it will pass easily, currently leading 64-29. An eminent domain amendment looks like it will pass as well, although by a narrower margin. It currently leads 51-39.
Full results here