Contrary to mainstream media narratives, Mississippi Republican voters seem pleased with their top elected leaders, this according to the latest Impact Management Group (IMG) poll commissioned by Y’all Politics.

IMG conducted a statewide public opinion survey using 600 2020 Republican Party Primary voters in the State of Mississippi between January 13-17, 2021.

FAVORABILITY OF TOP ELECTED LEADERS

Governor Tate Reeves gets high marks from fellow Republicans after one of the most challenging first years in the office any previous Governor has faced.  Reeves has a favorability of 64.5%, the highest among elected officials polled by IMG.  Respondents over 65 years old give the Governor almost 74% favorability while he falls shorter in the 18-34 crowd with over 44%.

IMG also polled the favorability of Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn among Republican voters.

Hosemann’s favorability comes in at 59%, with 28.5% Strongly Favorable and 30.67% Somewhat Favorable.

While not a statewide elected official, Speaker Gunn’s favorability sits at 30%.  Only 8.83% hold a Strongly Favorable view of Gunn with 21.5% Somewhat Favorable.

Compared to Reeves (7%), both Hosemann and Gunn had a sizeable percentage of respondents who either had no opinion of them or never heard of them.  That percent for Hosemann was near 23% and for Gunn it was over 55%.

The favorability rating for the Mississippi Legislature is just south of 44%.

COVID JOB APPROVAL

Probably the most interesting result from the poll was how Republicans felt about Governor Reeves’ COVID response and management of the state during the pandemic.  While his overall job approval rating among GOP voters is 69.5%, his approval rating for the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic sits just under 72%.

That difference would indicate that slightly more Republicans believe Reeves is doing a better job on COVID-related issues even if they do not approve of him personally. Given the current circumstances with many governors around the country feeling the pinch from constituents, even within their own party, this result is noteworthy.

INCOME TAX PHASE OUT

As for policy issues on the front burner statewide, Republicans are very supportive of eliminating the state income tax, with nearly 63% in favor of the phase out proposed by Governor Reeves and supported by Speaker Gunn.

Lt. Governor Hosemann has been more cautious in his support for the elimination of the state income tax, noting on multiple occasions the need to consider spending on vital state supported services, such as education and infrastructure. However, this is clearly an area where Republican voters would like to see things change.

EDUCATION

Again, contrary to the mainstream media narrative that such a policy move is primarily a Democrat-backed issue, the IMG poll shows there is broad support amongst Republicans for raising K-12 teacher pay by 10% – almost 71% approve.

Both Gunn and Hosemann have stated they want a teacher pay increase this session, and bills have moved out of committee to do just that.

Governor Reeves said recently in his State of the State address that he would sign a teacher pay raise if the Legislature passed it this session.

However, larger increases that have the potential to put more pressure on the state budget are met with increasing opposition among Republicans. Only 34% would support a 20% teacher pay raise while 54% oppose that amount.

MEDIA CONTEXT

These polling results lie in stark contrast to polls in recent weeks promoted by Democratic pollsters and their affiliated mainstream media outlets pushing the narrative that Governor Reeves is “underwater with voters”, as presented in the Millsaps/Chism Poll released in January.

That poll opined that Reeves is “hemorrhaging support among voters at the close of his first year in office,” which has given rise to sycophantic articles asking, “Will Gov. Tate Reeves, polling poorly after one year in office, draw a serious GOP challenger in 2023?” such as was published by Mississippi Today this week.

It bears repeating that Reeves won his primary runoff with 54% of the vote.  According to the IMG poll, his standing has actually increased among Republicans by over 10 points since late 2019.

“Despite what others have said, this poll shows what I already knew was true: Republican voters are pleased with the work Governor Reeves is doing for our state. I hear it everywhere I go,” said Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Frank Bordeaux.  “Our conservative policy approach through COVID is working and Mississippians appreciate the Governor’s leadership. Our party is united around the policies Governor Reeves has endorsed, like the elimination of the state income tax and a teacher pay raise.  These policies allow our citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money while wisely investing in Mississippi’s future through our dedicated teachers.”

The IMG poll sample included 72.34% who self-identified as Republicans with another 18% saying they were Independent. A half of a percent identified as Democrat.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of those polled were not college graduates but over 62% had a household income over $45,000.

The gender split was nearly 50-50 with 46% of respondents aged 65 years old and up, 36% 50-64, and 15% 35-49. 3% of those polled were ages 18-34. The margin of error is +/- 4%.

This is the third poll from IMG commissioned by Y’all Politics.  The 2020 poll conducted 6 months before the 2020 US Senate election was remarkably accurate.  It also measured voters overall reaction to Reeves shortly after the COVID crisis began.  At that point, voters in both parties were more galvanized around leadership prior to the 2020 election.  The IMG poll in June 2019 showed Reeves defeating both primary and general election opponents.

Poll memo is available as follows.

Yall Politics Poll Analysis – February 2021 by yallpolitics on Scribd