President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd as he finishes speaking at a rally Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in Johnson City, Tenn.

A majority of Mississippi voters – 58 percent – say President Donald Trump’s decision to endorse Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for governor will not be a factor or will be only a minor factor in their voting decision, according to a NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released this week.

Of that majority, 42 percent said it would not be a factor at all.

Among black Mississippians, 51 percent said it would not be a factor at all while 14 percent said it would be a minor factor. On the other side, 21 percent of black voters said it would be a major factor and 13 percent said would be one of several major factors. The poll, conducted Oct. 8 through Tuesday, did not ask the registered voters whether the Trump endorsement would negatively or positively impact their decision to vote for the Republican Reeves over Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in the Nov. 5 general election.

Overall, the online poll gives Reeves a 47-40 advantage over Hood. Independent David Singletary is garnering 7 percent of the vote and Constitution Party candidate Bob Hickingbottom has 2 percent while 3 percent gave no answer.

The poll shows Reeves with a much wider lead than he has in other recent polls. Hood recently released results from his campaign pollster – Hickman Analytics – showing the attorney general  with a 46-42 lead. A recent Mason-Dixon poll had Reeves with a 46-43 lead and another recent poll, Targoz Market Research, had Reeves up by 1 percent.

In July, a NBC News/Survey Monkey poll showed Hood trailing both leading Republican candidates – Reeves and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. – by double digits. Reeves went on to defeat Waller in a party primary runoff election. After the contentious election, Waller opted not to endorse Reeves.

Of Survey Monkey, the Hood campaign said in July, “This is monkey business. Survey Monkey is ranked the eighth-worst polling outfit in the nation out of 396 rated by the authoritative 538 website. We have been up in the polls for the past two years. We are seeing undercurrents that haven’t been seen in decades. Huge blocks of voters such as supervisors, municipal and county elected officials, teachers, superintendents of education, law enforcement, firefighters, nurses, doctors and business leaders, Republicans, and Democrats, have consolidated behind our campaign for change.”

Reeves recently said the only poll he cared about was Election Day, though, he said recent polls did indicate he had the momentum.

The NBC News/Survey Monkey poll of Mississippians released Friday found that:

  • 62 percent say they would be very or somewhat willing to pay higher taxes for infrastructure improvements.
  • 61 percent say they would be very or somewhat willing to pay higher taxes to improve public schools.
  • 59 percent find the state economy is very good or fairly good.
  • 81 percent said state spending on infrastructure will be somewhat or very important to their vote on Nov. 5.
  • 69 percent strongly or somewhat approve of the job of outgoing Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

For Trump, 42 percent strongly approve of his job performance while 15 percent somewhat approve. Interestingly though, 56 percent oppose his impeachment and removal from office, meaning 1 percent who approve of the president think he should be removed from office.

Among African American voters, 72 percent strongly disapprove of the job the president is doing and 9 percent somewhat disapprove. Those results would indicate that many black voters who consider a Trump endorsement a factor in their voting decision would consider it a negative factor.

State Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, recently argued a Trump visit to Mississippi for Reeves would drive up voter turnout among African Americans for Hood.

‘“The idea he (Trump)  is going to fire up the Tate Reeves’ base – that will fire up our community,” he said.

Trump will hold a rally with Reeves in Tupelo on Nov. 1.

Overall, 30 percent said race relations in Mississippi are getting better while 27 percent said they are worse and 42 percent said staying the same. Among black Mississippians, 41 percent said they are getting worse. Thirty nine percent staying the same and 19 percent getting better.

Survey Money is an online pollster The poll is  based on a sample – 1,002 registered voters – of the people who “take surveys on the Survey Money platform each day.” For full results and methodology, click here. 

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Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.