JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Democrat Jim Hood still holds a slim lead over Republican Tate Reeves in what currently appears to be the most likely gubernatorial general election match-up, according to a Mississippi poll conducted by the Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy
Statewide, 44% of voters currently support Hood, while 42% back Reeves and 14% are undecided.
However, the race has steadily tightened over the past year. Hood held a six-point advantage in December 2017 and a five-point lead last April. Additionally, Hood’s edge could simply be the product of his current 11% statewide name recognition advantage (91%-80%).
There is speculation that retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller, Jr. is considering a run for governor, possibly as an independent candidate.
While Waller is a Republican, his father was elected to the governor’s office as a Democrat. He could generate cross-party appeal, but if he does not win the question becomes how much support will he generate from each side? It could prove to be the deciding factor that swings the outcome in a close race.
Currently, a Waller candidacy does not tip the balance in favor of one candidate or the other.
In a three-way race, Hood maintains his two-point lead over Reeves (40%-38%), Waller draws 9% of the vote and 13% are undecided.
Meanwhile in the Republican primary, among the currently announced GOP candidates for Governor and Attorney General, Reeves holds a commanding lead over Robert Foster (62%-9%) and Lynn Fitch has a comfortable advantage over Mark Baker (45%-17%).
This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida from January 30 through February 1, 2019. A total of 625 registered Mississippi voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All said they vote regularly in state elections.
This survey also included an over-sample of 400 likely Republican primary voters. The margin for error on these results is ± 5 percentage points.