MS-Sen: Fmr. Dem Gov. Musgrove Leads GOP Inc. Wicker
by Jonathan Singer, Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:53:11 AM EDT
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee releases polls...
Just one week after Democrats picked up Sen. Roger Wicker's (R-Miss.) former House seat in northeast Mississippi, the party's Senate campaign committee released a new poll showing Wicker trailing former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) in November's special election Senate race.
The poll shows Musgrove leading Wicker 48 to 40 percent in a head-to-head matchup. Musgrove holds a 57 percent favorability rating, while 30 percent of voters view him unfavorably. Wicker also sports high approval ratings, but is less known throughout the state - which is partially attributable for his polling deficit.
Wicker holds a 42 percent favorability rating, with only 14 percent of voters viewing him unfavorably. Thirty percent of voters said they "didn't recognize" Wicker.
The poll, conducted by Hamilton Campaigns, surveyed 600 likely voters from May 15-18. It has a margin of error of four percent.
"If this becomes a race, it's worse than we imagined," said one Republican Senate operative.
Immediately following Travis Childers' simply shocking victory in the special congressional election in Mississippi's first congressional district a little over a week ago, one of my first reactions was Senator Ronnie Musgrove. Turns out this wasn't such a hasty reaction after all.
And there's reason to believe this poll isn't coming out of left field. Polling on the race conducted back in December, when the political climate was relatively less bad for the Republicans than it is now and before the Democratic base in Mississippi was seriously activated twice (during the state's primary and again during the special elections in the first district), showed Trent Lott's appointed replacement in the Senate, former Republican Congressman Roger Wicker, leading Musgrove just at the margin of error, 47 percent to 39 percent. It's entirely conceivable that the winds of change, both in Mississippi and across the country, have brought with them some movement in this race. What's more, as Marc Ambinder notes, the DSCC had no incentive to fudge these numbers -- and in fact had a disincentive to do so, because raising expectations is a dangerous thing.
It's not likely that Musgrove would be one of the more progressive members of the Senate. In fact, he'd likely come out on the more conservative end of the Democratic caucus in the chamber. Nevertheless, he would undoubtedly vote with the Democrats significantly more often than would Wicker. What's more, with 60 votes indeed within reach -- it's not a likely outcome, or even one with a terribly great chance of occurring, but it is no mere dream -- getting someone like Musgrove elected (or even helping ensure he's competitive, forcing the GOP to play more defense) would substantially move forward the effort to ensure that the Republicans cannot continue to set records filibustering important legislation, like the expansion of the SCHIP program or bringing an end to the war in Iraq. So if you can and are interested, head over to Act Blue today and make your voice heard in this race.