Espy Poll of Mississippi Senate Race Shows Path to Victory for Democrats

Espy finished ahead of both Republicans in separate special election matchups

Former Mississippi Democratic Rep. Mike Espy places ahead of either Republican Senate candidate in a runoff, according to a poll done for his campaign. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP file photo)

A Democratic poll of the Mississippi Senate special election shows former Rep. Mike Espy having a path to finishing first in a runoff this fall.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed earlier this year to replace longtime GOP Sen. Thad Cochran, is running for the remainder of his term this November. Candidates from all parties will run together on the same ballot, and if no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers will advance to a late-November runoff.

In the poll conducted for the Espy campaign, Hyde-Smith finished first on the initial ballot with 29 percent. Espy was in second with 27 percent, followed by state Sen. Chris McDaniel at 17 percent. The Mellman Group surveyed 600 likely votes from Aug. 1-7, and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Earlier polling has also showed Espy finishing in the top two. A GS Strategy Group poll from May conducted for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has backed Hyde-Smith, put her at 30 percent, Espy at 22 percent and McDaniel at 17 percent.

In the Espy poll, the Democrat led in both runoff scenarios. He led Hyde-Smith 41 percent to 38 percent, and finished ahead of McDaniel, 45 percent to 27 percent.

The poll also tested Hyde-Smith’s job approval rating and the favorability ratings of the other two candidates. Thirty-five percent approved of the job Hyde-Smith is doing, while 28 percent disapproved. Forty-one percent gave Espy a favorable rating and 24 percent gave him an unfavorable one. For McDaniel, 32 percent gave him a favorable rating and 27 gave him an unfavorable rating.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.

From the Archives: Cochran Bids Goodbye to Senate After Nearly 40 Years Representing Mississippi

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