According to reporting by Steve Wilson of Mississippi Matters, a poll conducted by Chism Strategies found that most Mississippians do not like the direction the state is headed.
Though Chism Strategies is a Democratic, left-leaning poll that has worked for Obama’s campaign and leftist unions like the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the numbers are interesting. The survey sampled 43.7 percent Republicans, 32.1 percent Democrats and 23.4 percent of Independents (those who do not identify with either party) – weighted “to reflect 2015 turnout, forage, race, gender and partisanship.”
Among Wilson’s reporting of the poll’s findings:
- Forty percent believe the state was headed in the wrong direction.
- Forty five percent of respondents disapproved of the Republican-led Legislature, while 27.5 percent were unsure and only 26.5 percent approved.
- Fixing roads and bridges was the top listed priority for the state’s elected leaders among those polled at 27 percent, with cutting the size of state government second at 15.9 percent and 14 percent wanting more funding for schools.
- On school funding, 55.6 percent said the state wasn’t spending enough, while only 10 percent thought the state was spending too much.
- Only 27.5 percent said the state’s public schools were excellent or good, with 34.7 percent listing them as poor or failing.
- However, 42.7 percent said their own local school district was excellent or good, a large disconnect.
- On the gasoline tax, 71.9 percent were not in support of an increase.
- 45.8 percent supported a corporate tax increase. Mississippi corporations are taxed at 3 percent on the first $5,000 of taxable income, 4 percent at the next $5,000 and 5 percent on income in excess of $10,000, which compares favorably with the 6.5 percent top rate collected by Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee and the 8 percent collected by Louisiana.
- A lottery is very popular among respondents, as 69.6 percent would support the creation of one to help boost funding to public schools.
- Gov. Phil Bryant’s approval rating in the poll was 53.5 percent, while Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves received 38.4 percent and state Attorney General Jim Hood received 52.3 percent.
- While the results appear to favor the Democrat Hood, who has yet to announce his future plans for the 2019 election, 26 percent of Democrats didn’t approve of either his or Reeves’ performance in office.
- Hood does have crossover appeal, as 54.2 percent of Republicans approved of both potential candidates, while 35 percent of Democrats approved of both.
One sure-fire way to fix these problems, though, is not to return to Democrats but to elect true conservatives to the state’s highest offices, as well as the state legislature, then Mississippians will see change for the better.