Latest Jackson mayoral poll suggests three-man race

Democratic pollster Mark Chism has released his latest voter survey in the Jackson mayoral race. It points to three leaders in the pack of 10 Democratic candidates.

Jackson’s incumbent mayor, Frank Melton, and Ward 6 Councilman Marshand Crisler each drew 25% of respondents’ support in the poll. Former mayor Harvey Johnson took third place with 20%.

Chism told reporters the poll was conducted Friday evening, with more than 500 Jackson households contacted by phone.

This is the third such poll that Chism’s Zata|3 consulting firm has conducted in this race. He faces some criticism for not naming every one of the 10 candidates.

The information below comes directly from a communique sent by Chism to reporters Sunday night. We present it here for viewers’ reference; WLBT has not independently confirmed this data or conducted our own polling:


Friday evening we repeated the survey. (We had 558 completes.) The summary is provided below. Email me if you want the pivot tables (for breakdowns by ward, age, race, gender). In short, not much has changed in a week. Crisler is the favorite among white voters and Melton and Johnson lead among Black voters. Once the candidates go up on TV and radio we could see significant movement.

We’ve said from the outset that Frank Melton and Harvey Johnson have the highest floors and lowest ceilings of all the candidates—-they begin with a larger base but their upside is limited. People know Melton, and when reminded about Harvey Johnson, can easily form an opinion on his strengths and weaknesses based on his tenure as Mayor. Low ceilings, but with 11 people in the race, you don’t need much— 20% of the vote could get you in the runoff. The challenge for the next tier of candidates is to fund a media effort to nudge ahead of either of these and make the runoff. Crisler appears to be best positioned at this point.

Methodology We used an interactive, automated call with keypad responses to record results. The numbers are scrambled and randomly dialed with a quota of respondents by ward. As the name suggests, our ZATAPULSE takes the pulse of the electorate. It is not an “MRI”. It is a useful tool for short surveys of this nature and we have used it for more than 200 races across the country. We employ a similar methodology as Survey USA or Rasmussen. Still, the tool has limits. We caution you that this race is fluid and that each candidate is likely to have a more robust, internal poll. Nonetheless, we are confident that this is the most accurate, timely information that is publicly available.

About Zata3 Zata|3 is a political consulting firm for Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Company President Brad Chism splits time between his Washington, DC and Jackson, MS offices. For each of the last three years, Zata|3 had won more awards by the AAPC for its telephone voter contact programs than any other firm in America. For more information, go to

WLBT 4/13/9