Johnny DuPree (D): 40 (25)
Phil Bryant (R): 54 (56)
Undecided: 6 (19)
Picking up the Mississippi governor’s seat—left open with Haley Barbour’s completion of his second term—was probably never high on Democrats’ to-do lists. Today’s poll of the race from Public Policy Polling (the first public poll of the race since the primary was decided in spring) confirms that Republican Phil Bryant, currently the state’s lieutenant governor and long-considered Barbour’s heir apparent, should have little trouble holding the seat.
Johnny DuPree, the mayor of Hattiesburg and the first African-American Democratic gubernatorial nominee in the state, seems to have made a very positive impression on voters (he’s at 46/27 favorability), but the problem here is the state’s Republican lean (Barbour leaves office with a sky-high 60/29 approval) and also acute racial polarization. DuPree leads 80-11 among African-Americans, while Bryant is up 74-20 among whites. If you’re wondering what Mississippi’s racial breakdown is, according to the 2010 census, it’s 59 percent white, 37 percent black … not-coincidentally close to the gubernatorial race results.
Fear not, election junkies: There will still be some fireworks in the Magnolia State tomorrow night. The “Personhood Amendment,” which would further restrict access to abortion and birth control in Mississippi, is a dead heat right now, with 45 percent supporting it and 44 percent opposing it. The good news is that the demographic segments that are most likely to be currently undecided are also the segments that are likeliest to oppose it (women, Democrats, African-Americans), so “no” might pull into the lead as voters come off the fence. (Kaili Joy Gray also wrote about these numbers earlier today.)
There are some additional details from the sample worth rounding up:
• Jim Hood, the state’s long-time Attorney General and the only really durable Democrat left in the state’s bench, is poised to easily win another term; he leads Steve Simpson 52-39. However, in the state treasurer race, Republican Lynn Fitch leads Democrat Connie Moran 54-35.
• This may surprise you, but Democrats still hold a decent edge in the state’s House of Representatives. (Republicans took control of the state Senate in mid-cycle thanks to party switches.) That may come to a halt this election, not just because Democrats did a half-assed job of fielding candidates this cycle, but also because PPP finds a big Republican advantage on the generic legislative ballot, 49-38.
• Two other measures are on the statewide ballot. One concerns a photo ID requirement at the polls, which is passing 64-29. The other would prevent the state from taking property by eminent domain and giving it to another person, which is also passing, 51-39.