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A Closer Look At The MS-02 Poll

September 23, 2010

Yesterday I posted– with suspicion I’ll add- the results of a JMC Enterprises poll showing the race in the heavily Democratic, majority black Second District a virtual dead heat between Rep. Bennie Thompson and his challenger Bill Marcy.

Let me say this: I feel for anyone trying to poll the Second. It is done VERY rarely and can’t be easy. A combination of rural, poor and heavily African-American does not make things easy for a pollster.

That said, here are some of the key findings on race: The ‘registered and likely voter’ model was 54-46 black, while the ‘likely voter’ model went down to a 50-50 split among white and black voters. That is what JMC used for the poll results and what they believe turnout will resemble.

Among the district as a whole, it is 64 percent black.

Using this model, the 2008 vote would have been 52 percent for Barack Obama and 43 percent for John McCain. Obama actually won the district with over 65 percent of the vote. That would equal about +30 for Obama in 2008 compared to just +9 percent today. I will say this: most polls that have asked this have seen a decrease of 10-15 points for Obama. I would imagine a 21-point drop would be a bit of an outlier.

Under the ‘registered and unlikely’ model, Obama has a +25 advantage, which isn’t too far off from the ’08 results. Using that same model, Thompson is leading Marcy by a 40-25 spread. But the likely voter model brings it down to 35-34 Thompson with 31 percent undecided.

As for the racial splits, black voters approve of Thompson’s performance by a +42 margin, while whites give him the thumbs down by a –52 split. Regarding whom they will vote for, Thompson leads +63 among blacks while Marcy leads white voters by a +59 margin. Nothing there is surprising.

What we can take from this is that it all comes down to race. In 2009, the black vote was down significantly from 2008. But nothing like we would have to see to bring it down to 50-50 in the Second.

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