Harper Polling: Mississippi Republican Party Primary Poll

Senate Primary Race

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran continues to lead his Republican primary challenger Chris McDaniel. Cochran leads McDaniel 52-35%, a net +7% gain for McDaniel since mid-December when we found Cochran leading 54-31%.

The ideological construct of the race has shifted favorably for McDaniel. In December, Cochran and McDaniel were tied at 43-43% among tea party voters. Now, McDaniel leads 53-35% among tea party voters.

Among “very conservative” voters, Cochran previously led 49-38%. McDaniel now leads among this group 45-44%.

However, McDaniel’s image with voters is taking on water as it approaches a ratio of 1-to-1. In December, he had a net +16% image (33% favorable vs. 17% unfavorable). Now, McDaniel’s net image is +6% (37% favorable vs. 31% unfavorable).

Likewise, Cochran’s net image of +36% (64% favorable vs. 28% unfavorable) in December has declined to +29% (59% favorable vs. 30% unfavorable).

Military Spending & Earmarks

Voter opinion toward the debate over federal spending in Mississippi is in the eye of the beholder. When asked if they approve of increasing federal spending on the state’s military installations, 59% of primary voters approve; 20% disapprove.

When asked if they approve of earmarks, 64% of primary voters disapprove; 21% approve. Among tea party voters, 74% disapprove of earmarks. However, 59% of tea party voters approve of increasing military spending in Mississippi.

The winner of this debate will be determined who does a better of framing the issue.

2016 Presidential Primary

In a hypothetical 2016 Republican Presidential primary ballot, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush leads with 29% of the vote, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz at 12% each.

This is the first 2016 ballot test in which Harper Polling has included Jeb Bush. In light of recent reports, the inclusion of Bush will be standard.

Bush leads among tea party voters (24% to 18% for Cruz), non-tea party voters (40% to 24% for Christie), “very conservative” voters (26% to 17% for Cruz) and “somewhat conservative” voters (36% to 17% for Christie).