PPP's new Mississippi poll finds that Phil Bryant will start out as a favorite for reelection in 2015. Bryant has pretty solid approval numbers with 41% of voters giving him good marks to 31% who disapprove. Democrats have a couple of potential candidates with positive favorability numbers. Attorney General Jim Hood has a 41/20 favorability rating and is respected across party lines with both Democrats (50/14) and Republicans (36/28) expressing positive opinions of him. Although he has only 33% name recognition, Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley is on positive ground as well at 20/13. Nevertheless Bryant still leads both of those potential foes by double digits- 44/33 over Hood and 49/26 over Presley. As long as his approval numbers stay positive Bryant should be in pretty good shape.
Other notes from Mississippi:
-Mike Huckabee is the top choice of Republicans in the state to be their Presidential candidate in 2016. 25% say he'd be their pick to 16% for Jeb Bush, 11% for Ted Cruz, 8% for Chris Christie, 6% each for Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, 5% for Marco Rubio, 3% for Rick Santorum, and 2% for Scott Walker. Huckabee leads with both moderates and conservatives, and is particularly strong with women and seniors.
Hillary Clinton would make Mississippi more competitive than it's been in recent years, but it doesn't look like she'd have a great chance of actually winning the state. She trails Huckabee 49/42, Bush 47/42, Christie 45/42, and Paul 45/43 in hypothetical contests. She does at least manage a tie with Cruz at 44.
-Despite the overall conservatism of Mississippi, voters in the state do take the Democrats' side on a couple of key hot issues. Voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour, 56/35. And they support expanding Medicaid, 51/32. Each issue has over 80% support from Democrats, and also gets at least 25% support from Republicans as well as from a plurality of independents.