Even though there is no current race for a Mississippi US Senate seat, you wouldn’t know it by all the news and speculation. In the most recent news, the Mason-Dixon company recently polled a potential race between Roger Wicker and Chris McDaniel. And the survey of more than 650 Mississippi voters gave Wicker the lead by a margin of 49 to 33.
On its face, the poll seems to give Wicker a commanding lead and provide the Establishment some much-needed breathing room. But there is trouble in the numbers!
For an incumbent US Senator who has served for nearly a decade in that position, not to mention more than 10 previous years in the US House, to be under 50 percent is more than a little troubling. Equally troubling is the large number of “undecided” voters – 18 percent. And most “undecideds” have a strong tendency to break away from the incumbent toward election day.
These numbers are even more problematic given the fact that Wicker has been running against McDaniel for several months. He was once “Senator Invisible,” but now he’s “Senator News Cycle.” One can hardly scroll through Facebook without seeing Wicker’s face.
Now, if the poll had showed Wicker with a solid 60 percent of the vote, or more, along with very few undecided voters, then perhaps a conservative challenger might have a problem. But it didn’t.
(It’s also interesting to note that the poll, on the question of McDaniel vs. Wicker, did not give a breakdown of the numbers, as it did on job approval questions for Trump, Wicker, and Cochran.)
But no one is yet facing Wicker. No challenger has come forward to expose his liberal voting record. And no one has, as of yet, shown the majority of the state’s voters that Wicker has called for the state flag to be removed and placed in a museum. These issues, and many more, will most certainly swing those numbers in the opposite direction.
The numbers certainly did tilt when McDaniel began assailing Thad Cochran at every turn in 2014. And he did it while trying to build an organization and raise money. Now he has an organization, money, two PACs, websites, big backers, and the like.
So let not your heart be troubled. Cochran was once considered “unbeatable.” Polls showed him with massive leads early on in 2014. No one gave McDaniel even the slightest chance to beat Cochran. But he did, in the primary on June 3, and for many of his most die-hard supporters, again on June 24.
The Establishment had better worry about this potential matchup – Wicker vs. McDaniel. And this poll should only add to their stress.