Poll: Tea Party Candidate McDaniel Leading in Mississippi

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 12:55 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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According to a newly released Chism Strategies poll, incumbent Thad Cochran is likely to be defeated by tea party candidate Chris McDaniel in Tuesday's GOP primary runoff for a Mississippi Senate seat.

"Unless Cochran expands the electorate with general election Republicans and crossover Democrats, McDaniel wins," said pollster Brad Chism.

McDaniel has an 8 point lead with 52 percent over Cochran's 44 percent, with 4 percent still undecided among the 697 voters polled. The margin of error was 3.8 percent.

Cochran is scrambling for union and Democrat votes after "his campaign spent millions in the primary bashing President [Barack] Obama and his policies."

The pollsters question whether his attempt to develop a more centrist message will drive conservative voters away.

"Are the establishment Republicans able to bring the rank and file to Cochran?" Chism asks. "Will there be a backlash from this top-down directive?"

The Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger says the race will go down as "one of the most bitter, mudslinging-est, bizarre political hootenannies in state history."

"There is a state statute that says people should not vote in party primaries unless they plan to later support the party's nominee. But this is unenforceable. Mississippi technically has open primaries and does not require party registration," the newspaper's Geoff Pender wrote.

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