PPP's new Mississippi poll find Thad Cochran has a strong advantage for the general election- but that the fallout from last month's divisive runoff has left a lot of voters undecided. Cochran's at 40% to 24% for Democrat Travis Childers and 5% for Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara, with 31% of voters still undecided.
Cochran's emerged from the primary popular with Democrats (58/22 approval) and unpopular with Republicans (39/52). Cochran is particularly well liked by African Americans, sporting a 59/20 approval rating, and even narrowly leading Childers with them at 37/36. Cochran is only polling at 48% among GOP voters though with 37% still undecided, reflecting a lot of McDaniel supporters who are still so angry they can't bring themselves to say they'll vote for Cochran in November.
In general Mississippians think Cochran won the Republican runoff fair and square. 58% think he was the rightful winner to only 29% who believe McDaniel was, and 50% think McDaniel should concede to only 35% who believe he should keep on fighting. McDaniel voters are pretty unanimous in thinking he was done wrong though- 81% think he was the rightful winner of the runoff to just 10% who believe Cochran was. And they want him to keep on fighting- only 28% think he should concede to 63% that want him to keep on challenging the outcome of the election.
The protracted fight is having a pretty negative impact on McDaniel's image beyond his support base though. He now has a 29/53 favorability rating, and he actually trails Childers by a point in a hypothetical match up at 37/36, with the Reform Party candidate getting 4%. He may be hurting his ability to run successfully for office in the future.
It's already been pretty thoroughly proven that Democrats- and black voters in particular- fueled Cochran's win in the runoff. We find that people who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 (75% of the runoff electorate) supported McDaniel 56/44 in the election, but Obama voters (19% of the runoff electorate) supported Cochran 83/17. Even though only 10% of voters in the runoff were African American, their 77/23 support level for Cochran was more than enough to put him over the top.
A few closing notes:
-To get an idea of just how conservative McDaniel's supporters are, 38% say they would support the United States in a second Civil War to 37% who would go for the Confederacy.
-3 years ago we found that Haley Barbour was one of the most popular Governors in the country, but his standing in Mississippi has really declined. 36% of voters see him favorably now to 42% with an unfavorable opinion.
Full results here