Magnolia State Musings

The Republican primary election for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi has turned conventional political wisdom on its head – and we still aren’t even sure who won.

As it stands now, incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran enjoys a 7,667-vote advantage over State Senator Chris McDaniel (out of 376,323 ballots cast) – although McDaniel is expected to formally challenge the results, alleging illegal crossover voting by Democrats who already voted in their party’s primary.

Market Research Foundation commissioned an exit poll following the June 24 runoff election between Cochran and McDaniel – conduction in-person interviews at eighteen polling places.  A total of 1,127 interviews were collected from suburban Memphis and the Southern Gulf Coast.

The goal of the survey?  To determine the impact of various media methods on turnout and attitudes – and to assess which media most effectively delivered specific messages to various demographics.

Among the findings?

“Non-college educated white men are more receptive to the message that Congress and its staff are exempt from President Obama’s healthcare law,” an MRF report from Mississippi revealed.  “This demographic is more likely to say Congress and its staff get enough benefits and should pay for their own healthcare and are less likely to vote for an incumbent member of Congress if it is true that they have a special exemption.”

The survey found McDaniel was able to increase his margin among these voters from 51 percent in the June 3 primary election to 66 percent in the June 24 runoff.

“The issue of Congressional Exemption from Obamacare has significant potential impact, especially among White, Non-College voters – the segment of the electorate that has abandoned the GOP in recent years and who hold the balance of power in many jurisdictions in the nation,” the report concludes.

To view the report in its entirety (and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation), click on the links below …

MISSISSIPPI EXIT POLLING: THE MEDIUM AND THE MESSAGE (.pdf)

MISSISSIPPI EXIT POLLING (.pptx)