MS-Sen: A "Tossup"
by Jonathan Singer, Thu May 22, 2008 at 04:29:38 PM EDT
A few minutes ago Markos posted some new numbers on the Mississippi Senate contest between appointed Senator Roger Wicker and his Democratic opponent, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove:
Research 2000 for dKos, 600 LVs, 5/19-21, MoE +/- 4%
Roger Wicker (R): 46 percent (47 percent in December)
Ronnie Musgrove (D): 42 percent (39 percent in December)
A survey released yesterday by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee actually showed Musgrove leading Wicker by 8 points, just at the poll's margin of error. Lest you think that these numbers are necessarily off because they are a partisan poll (and it is usually worth taking partisan polls with at least a grain of salt, realizing that they are commissioned and more importantly released for a reason), note that while the Research 2000 poll mentioned the partisan affiliation of the two candidates, the DSCC poll did not. Why does this matter? Because the party affiliation of Wicker and Musgrove will not be listed on the ballot (sorry, paid subscription from the Cook Political Report required):
One factor that worked to [Travis] Childers's benefit [in his MS-01 special election victory] was that the candidates' party affiliations were not on the ballot because it was a special election. They won't be on the ballot in the Senate race either since it is a special election. This means that Republican-leaning voters can't simply rely on a party label to make their choice.
Do I think the R2K numbers are off and the DSCC numbers are more on target? No, not whatsoever. The sense I get is that this is a tight race -- a sense that is backed up by the fact that both the R2K poll and the one from the DSCC come in within the margin of error. Indeed, Cook (no subscription required for this link) now rates the race between Wicker and Musgrove as a "tossup", upgrading it from the "likely Republican" category which signifies a race which is not yet competitive but has the potential of becoming so.
MS-B SEN: According to Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy, Republicans may have to fight to hold on to a seat in the Deep South. "A competitive Senate race in Mississippi? In a presidential year? Really? As crazy as it sounds, a new poll does indeed show that appointed GOP Sen. Roger Wicker will have a fight on his hands in his bid to complete the remainder of former Sen. Trent Lott's term."
The last thing I'd add on the R2K poll is this: Musgrove is pulling in just 73 percent of African-Americans at present. If he can up that number to 90 percent by November while keeping his current level of support among White voters (26 percent), he'd be well within striking distance of victory at 48.4 percent. If he can get his support among African-American voters just a bit higher than that to 95 percent while holding his White support, he would come in just above 50 percent (50.2 percent, to be precise). Alternatively, if he could boost African-American turnout slightly while pulling in about 90 percent of their vote, he would secure a 50.3 percent majority come November. Simply put, an energized African-American base in Mississippi could mean the difference between Senator Wicker and Senator Musgrove.
So if you'd like to see a Democrat (even a more moderate one) representing Mississippi in the United States Senate for the first time in more than two decades, head over to Act Blue today and make a contribution.