Incumbent Republicans have sizable leads, as expected, in two down ballot races, according to a new poll from Mississippi Today/Siena College.
The gubernatorial campaign between Democrat Brandon Presley and Republican incumbent Tate Reeves is receiving the bulk of the attention, but Democrats have candidates challenging for all eight statewide elected posts.
In addition to polling the Presley-Reeves gubernatorial election, Mississippi Today/Siena College polled the race for attorney general and secretary of state.
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.
The poll, conducted in late August, showed incumbent Republican Attorney General Lynn Fitch with a 54% to 35% lead over Democratic challenger Greta Kemp Martin.
It also shows incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson with a 56% to 33% lead over Democratic challenger Shuwaski Young.
But this past week, Young dropped out of the race for health reasons, allowing the state Democratic Party to name a replacement to run against Watson. That candidate is Ty Pinkins, an attorney and military veteran, who had announced his intention to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in 2024. It is not clear whether Pinkins would pursue that campaign should he upset Watson, who is running for his second term as secretary of state.
As election day nears, the contest for attorney general could garner additional interest. Fitch, after all, has received national attention for filing the lawsuit that led to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which provided a national right to an abortion.
Fitch, the former state treasurer who is completing her first term as attorney general, seldom takes questions from the media. Kemp Martin has been an active campaigner.
Kemp Martin, like all the statewide Democratic candidates, is struggling from a lack of name identification.
According to the poll, Fitch was viewed favorably by 37% of the respondents and unfavorably by 29%, with 33% saying they did not know enough to offer an opinion.
A whopping 70% of respondents said they did not know enough to offer an opinion on Kemp Martin, the litigation director for Disability Rights Mississippi. She was viewed favorably by 9% of respondents and unfavorably by 18%.
Young’s numbers were similar to those of Kemp Martin and, of course, the poll was conducted before Pinkins was named as the new Democratic candidate for secretary of state.
Watson was viewed favorably by 27% and unfavorably by 17%, with 54% of respondents saying they did not know enough to offer an opinion.
The Mississippi Today/Siena College Research Institute poll of 650 registered voters was conducted August 20-28, 2023, and has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points. Siena has an ‘A’ rating in FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of pollsters.