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Governor’s race poll shows Brandon Presley trailing Gov. Tate Reeves by one percentage point

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Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial nominee Brandon Presley speaks to voters at a meet-and-greet campaign event for Black women, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, in Jackson, Miss. 
(AP Photo/Michael Goldberg)

In the race for Mississippi governor, a new poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley trailing incumbent Governor Tate Reeves by just one percentage point.

Will Stribling

Governor's race poll shows  Brandon Presley trailing incumbent Governor Tate Reeves by just one percentage point.

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A poll released by the Democratic Governors Association shows Governor Tate Reeves leading Brandon Presley 46% to 45%, with nearly 10% of voters still undecided just two weeks from the election. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, a reputable North Carolina-based firm that is affiliated with the national Democratic Party.  

Tim Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, says the tension between Gov. Reeves’ unpopularity and Mississippi's deep red nature is what's going to decide this election.

“What's really interesting is when we look at that 10% of voters who are still undecided, they are almost all people who dislike Tate Reeves, but also dislike Joe Biden,” Jensen said. “So it's just gonna come down to for those voters, which thing wins out in the end? Is it more important that they don't like Tate Reeves they vote for Brandon Presley or is it more important that they don't like Democrats nationally?”

The poll showed that 68% of undecided voters have an unfavorable opinion of Reeves. Jensen attributes this unpopularity in part to the welfare scandal that saw at least $77 million, which was meant to help the poorest Mississippians, misused. Reeves has denied any involvement in the scandal that occurred before he entered the Governor's mansion, but Presley has made tying Reeves to the scandal a major theme of his campaign. 

“When you think about why Tate Reeves is so unpopular in a state where a Republican governor should usually be getting reelected pretty easily, I think the scandal is definitely a big piece of that,” Jensen said.

The results are made up of 601 Mississippi voters who were surveyed over text message and phone calls from October 19-20.