A new Mississippi Today/Siena College poll shows incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann with a substantial lead over challenger Chris McDaniel ahead of the Aug. 8 primary, but Hosemann doesn’t crack 50% and many remain undecided.

The poll of respondents who are likely to vote in the 2023 GOP primary showed Hosemann with 47% support and McDaniel with 32%. But 21% said they don’t know who they’ll vote for or declined to answer.

The poll also surveyed favorable/unfavorable numbers for both candidates. Hosemann was at 58% favorable to 22% unfavorable, and McDaniel was at 46% favorable to 28% unfavorable.

Editor’s note: Poll methodology and crosstabs can be found at the bottom of this story. Click here to read more about our partnership with Siena College Research Institute.

With incumbent Gov. Tate Reeves’ recent semi-endorsement of McDaniel, the poll showed 41% of likely primary voters said they would rather vote for a candidate with his endorsement down ticket, 24% said they would not and 35% said they don’t know.

Both candidates appear to have loyal bases among Republican primary voters. Of those polled who voted for Hosemann in 2019, 61% plan to vote for him again. Of those who voted for McDaniel in his unsuccessful runs for U.S. Senate in 2014 or 2018, 63% plan to vote for him again.

The poll showed some wide differences in regional voter sentiment. In the northeast congressional district, Hosemann and McDaniel were a dead heat, at 36% each. In the Delta and west Mississippi, Hosemann led 60%-20% and led 50%-26% in east-central. In the southeast district which includes McDaniel’s hometown Ellisville, Hosemann polled 45% to McDaniel’s 42%.

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Of those surveyed, 31% said they would vote for a candidate considered part of the far-right wing of the GOP, while 45% said they would support a moderate Republican and 24% said they don’t know.

The Mississippi Today/Siena College Research Institute poll of 646 registered voters was conducted June 4-7, 2023, and has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points. Siena has an ‘A’ rating in FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of pollsters.

Click here for complete methodology and crosstabs relevant to this story.

Editor’s note: The methodology and crosstabs document linked directly above this note was updated to accurately portray the makeup of the survey sample.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.