McDaniel Polling Ahead, Black Voters Still a Big Unknown

Over the weekend, Chism Strategies—a Democratic firm that has commissioned several polls since the June 3 primary election that resulted in a runoff—unveiled its latest survey of Republicans that shows Chris McDaniel (left) leading Thad Cochran (right) by eight points.

Over the weekend, Chism Strategies—a Democratic firm that has commissioned several polls since the June 3 primary election that resulted in a runoff—unveiled its latest survey of Republicans that shows Chris McDaniel (left) leading Thad Cochran (right) by eight points.

By most accounts, going into tomorrow's Republican primary for U.S. Senate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel has a commanding advantage over the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

That is, among likely GOP voters.

Over the weekend, Chism Strategies—a Democratic firm that has commissioned several polls since the June 3 primary election that resulted in a runoff—unveiled its latest survey of Republicans that shows McDaniel leading Cochran by eight points. For the first time since Chism began polling, the lead is well outside the 4 percent margin of error.

"Unless Cochran expands the electorate with general-election Republicans and crossover Democrats, McDaniel wins," Chism pollsters wrote.

Yet, Chism's group and other experts agree that it's difficult to measure a number of variables in this race, including an unprecedented appeal to African Americans and Democrats.

Austin Barbour, an adviser to Cochran's campaign, told The New York Times: "We've got efforts reaching out to black voters in Mississippi who want to vote for Thad because they like what Thad is for. ... Thad Cochran is someone who, even with his conservative message, represents all of Mississippi. He's not some hostile screamer."

In Mississippi, many Republican policies on both the federal and statewide level have left a sour taste in the mouths of African Americans, causing many to believe that blacks will not support even a cool-tempered Republican in the mold of Cochran.

Rickey Hill, who chairs the political science department at Jackson State University, says the African American vote, even in Mississippi, is not a monolith. For blacks who live in the capital city and other urban areas that rely heavily on federal pass-through money for infrastructure, community-development block grants and other funds Congress authorizes, it could be in their economic interests to get behind Cochran.

"Most people who are paying attention know that ... Cochran has good constituent services," Hill said.

In a stepped-up ad campaign in Jackson publications, such as the Jackson Advocate and—in the interest of full disclosure—the Jackson Free Press, as well in mailings to majority-black Jackson neighborhoods, Cochran touts his support for historically black colleges and universities, the Jackson Medical Mall and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps.

However, a campaign doorknob hanger Cochran campaingers left on homes in whiter Jackson neighborhoods such as Belhaven carried a very different message. It pictured all white men and emphasized Cochran's support for the NRA and anti-abortion efforts, as well as the fact that he voted "more than 100 times" against Obamacare.

"In tough times, you've got to do some unusual things," Bishop Ronnie Crudup told the Times. Crudup, who is African American, us pastor of New Horizon International Church and has worked with Republicans on a number of issues over the years, including charter schools.

In an election as close as the June 3 primary, where about 1,500 and 3,000 votes kept McDaniel and Cochran, respectively, from winning outright, a few large African American church congregations such as New Horizon's could easily put one candidate over the top.

McDaniel, meanwhile, is sticking to his conservative message of reining in federal spending and bringing little money back to Mississippi, if he is elected to the Senate.

Dr. Hill, of Jackson State, is not sure that will be politically feasible in a state as poor as Mississippi. Of McDaniel's campaign rhetoric, Hill said: "If he believes he's going to go (to the U.S. Senate) and do nothing, then clearly he only sees himself there for one term."

Comments

Sammy 1 month, 1 week ago

It's always hilarious when the Democrat becomes the defacto Republican in the races, as Hillary Clinton did against 0bama, or the Republican becomes the defacto Democrat, as Cochran has now, or Charlie Crist did (before coming an infacto Democrat.) The one thing they all have in common is they always lose.

On top of that, Cochran has an additional problem with his strategy. Democrats have been conditioning blacks to blindly hate all Republicans for 50 years. Does Cochran really believe he has the ability to marshal the vote of blacks? Instead, he is only alienating the little bit of support he had left among Republicans. Republicans don't tend to like it when candidates run as a Democrat in the Republican primary.

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Knowledge06 1 month, 1 week ago

I truly hope that African Americans refrain from being used by Thad Cochran for this debacle. He should lose and probably will lose. Don't run to us because your base now finds you useless. If Chris McDaniel wins then let the Cochran supporters vote for Travis Childers!

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kingspointer 1 month, 1 week ago

Exactly! what are these preacher's thinking about, besides getting paid???

"deal with me in November"

"I called Washington"

What does that even mean/???

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sarahmina 2 weeks ago

AMEN AND AMEN AGAIN AND AGAIN

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donnaladd 1 month, 1 week ago

There is no freakin' way I would vote for someone who couldn't find it in himself to vote with the majority for a resolution apologizing for the federal government's refusal to stop lynching. And that's only one reason.

All those contrasting campaign cards going to "white" neighborhoods with one message and "black" ones with another is yet another reason.

I can't stand hypocrisy. Of course, that's what Mississippi politics is all about.

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Turtleread 1 month, 1 week ago

You've never played chess before, have you? Now, play it in three or four dimensions. To become a Grandmaster, you must be as many as ten steps ahead. The end result will eventually turn the South purple, then some blue.

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sarahmina 1 month, 1 week ago

My GOD , can Mississippi African Americans, in general, be that gullible and quite frankly, that stereotypically oppressed STILL. I just pray not although BLACK JACKSONIANS did throw away the opportunity to empower themselves in the last mayoral election. These so called Ministers should be run out of town on a rail. They have ALWSYS SOLD US OUT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. (Yes exceptions do exist) Don't believe me? Just stay tuned to see whose new "CHURCH HOME GOES UP FIRST if Cochran wins or whose personal standard of living shoots up. PLEASE DONT BE. "PLAYED AGAIN IN HISTORY.

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JLucas 1 month, 1 week ago

This is such a dilemmatic choice that I expect most African Americans will avoid voting in today's runoff.

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donnaladd 1 month, 1 week ago

I suspect that, too. Except for Republican African Americans, of course. It'll be interesting to see if the last-hour appeal to black voters works. The hypocrisy is stunning.

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robbier 1 month, 1 week ago

Now, Donna, it's not hypocrisy. It's politics.

You should know its makes strange bedfellows. Especially when it's used to defeat the lunatics on the extremes.

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Turtleread 1 month, 1 week ago

It's raining in Jackson. Bad for turnout, which may favor McDaniel. Hope you like him as your next Senator.

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YogSoggoth 1 month, 1 week ago

This is a no brainer for Mississippi's black community. Thad is soft on illegal immigrants. They steal your jobs and lower wages. McDaniels is against illegal immigants, and has the voting record to back it up. Why even bring race into the conversation? This is about jobs for Americans, and as a side effect housing will be cheaper because of the new empty rentals.

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sarahmina 2 weeks ago

Same old divide and conquer thing. Hispanics, legal or undocumented are NOT our/African American's problem. Please, Please, do not let these people tell you that Hispanics are taking your jobs. That is not now NOR never has been the issue. It is MUCH more complicated than that and yes, it does have an OBVIOUS racial component.

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RonniMott 1 month, 1 week ago

Right now, odds are even for a Childers win in November against McDaniel, but they favor Cochran if he's the R candidate.

Just spit-balling here, but an effective GOTV campaign could push Childers over the edge against either one. Some Cochran supporters would cross over for Childers against McD, but it's more likely they'll just sit that one out. Dems don't have a great track record for GOTV in Mississippi in recent years, of course, but I've seen a lot of excitement on social media. Even people with doubts about Childers' Democratic "purity" have said they'd vote for him just to beat McD.

McD could get a big surprise, similar to what happened on personhood. It wouldn't be the first time Mississippians rallied and surprised the entire country to do the right thing. We don't need another Tea Party obstructionist in Congress.

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kingspointer 1 month, 1 week ago

any exit polling? any trends???

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goldeneagle97 1 month, 1 week ago

I heard an ad from a black minister this morning on 100.5 wanting blacks to go out and vote for Cochran. While I find Cochran the lesser of two evils, I just couldn't find it within myself to vote for either one during the primary three weeks ago. There's something to be said about courting the black vote when he hasn't done so for many years. Now that he's in deep water, he comes to us asking for help.

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6543 1 month, 1 week ago

I hope the old man wins A tea party nut and obstructionist is no good to any of us. We might as well have nobody. McDaniel is a dangerous man.

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JLucas 1 month ago

Cochran wins, but it sounds like a court challenge from McDaniel is inevitable.

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Turtleread 1 month ago

@JLucas,

Right on that Cochran won! And McDaniel can strut his conservative self and invoke St. Ronnie Reagan all he wants, he doesn't have a prayer of a chance if Cochran has the votes. The entire state government is with Cochran, not McDaniel. Poor sport that he is, he (McDaniel) didn't even give a concession speech.

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833maple 1 month ago

If Cochran had a more divisive or inflammatory history and record, you simply would not have seen the Black turnoutand support for him like you did, I don't care how many preachers you bought. So Don't relegate us to a group of mindless thinking brainwashed idiots who simply follow ranting preachers, many of us gave deep consideration to our vote for Cochran including me. And I voted for him on June 3rd. I'm hopeful Childers will run a campaign that will reach out and grab some of those voters. Consensus could turn this state blue but I seriously doubt it.

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goldeneagle97 1 month ago

Even if I were eligible to vote yesterday (I couldn't since I voted in the the Dem primary), I couldn't bring myself to vote for either one. I think Cochran is the lesser of two evils, but what has he done to reach out to black voters before the recent primary? What about the other races he had been before? He also touted one record towards his base (including anti-gun control and votes against Obamacare), but another record to blacks and Democrats without the aforementioned issues mentioned. We shouldn't be taken for granted from politicians who only want to seek our votes when they're in the political fight of their lives.

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JLucas 1 month ago

I was surprised by the AA turnout. Clearly many Dems (black AND white) decided the devil they know is better than the one they don't. And as evident in his speech last night, MickeyD's horns are pretty conspicuous.

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hottytoddyguy 1 month ago

I find it quite pitiful that we as an AA community would stoop low to help an even more pitiful old man win in a step further in becoming senator for another term. What has the Good ole boys done to interest the AA community? riddle me this.... its sad people on FB touting "just voted for thad!" but why do you know why only that your preacher told you to go vote for a candidate, did his team canvas your neighborhood, did he visit you personally? It's sad that we are the pawns to help a candidate get a boost when most people didn't even vote in the initial primary. Seems as its no hope for this state as a 24 year old the actual chance of getting new fresh leadership is dismal and disheartening , I really don't understand our state nor the logic of many people, why cheer for someone who has continuously been in a position where our state has been at the bottom time after time and now is so old what more does he have to give. He touts about Katrina but the funds were coming regardless of what he or Bubba would have done, You claim to vote again the ACA multiple times which hinders our state how many millions of funding that would have saved multiple smaller/rural hospitals from closing? It's just crazy now what are those who voted for him yesterday going to do, Vote Dem in the actual election or will he send his people back out to the same churches to vote again... i think not.

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