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Mississippi Going Obama, But Clinton Faring Stronger Than Expected

Compiled from InsiderAdvantage and Southern Political Report staff

March 7, 2008An InsiderAdvantage survey of 412 registered voters who said they were likely to vote in the March 11 Mississippi Democratic primary shows, as expected, that Barack Obama leads. However, the poll also suggests that somewhere between 15% and 20% of the voter turnout for the open-primary contest will be Republicans and independents.  

The poll was conducted March 6. The data have been weighted for race, gender, age and party affiliation. The margin of error is plus or minus 5%.

InsiderAdvantage’s Matt Towery: “This should be a very safe race for Obama. Past primaries in the South show him attracting most of the African-American vote, and that vote is hugely significant in a Mississippi Democratic primary. While there remains a relatively high percentage of undecided black voters in our survey, this is typical in southern races at this stage. That number will dwindle as Election Day draws near.

“There is some good news for Clinton in this survey. First, she is winning independent voters. Second, we have heard rumors that Republicans voters might engage in the primary in higher than normal numbers, so that they can vote for Clinton, and thus keep the Democratic battle going. There is some evidence that this trend might be developing.

“Finally, Clinton has a demographic that she could possibly go after to gain votes. She currently trails among women in Mississippi, but leads among men. If she could turn the uniqueness of becoming the first woman president into a major talking point, she might make additional progress with Mississippi women,” Towery said.

 “Overall, I would have expected this to be a bigger margin for Obama. That still might happen. But the race deserves scrutiny, given the potential for Republican and independent participation in a state where Republicans are usually tied unalterably to their party. The next survey we’ll conduct will tell us if Republicans in Mississippi could become engaged, if temporarily, in Democratic politics; enough to make the Democratic primary closer than expected,” Towery concluded.  Click here for crosstabs.


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