Poll: Tate Reeves leads Brandon Presley by 11 points in governor’s race

Published 5:57 am Sunday, September 3, 2023

by Taylor Vance, Mississippi Today
September 1, 2023

A new Mississippi Today/Siena College poll shows incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is leading Democratic nominee Brandon Presley by 11 points ahead of the November general election.

The poll, which surveyed 650 likely Mississippi voters between August 20-28, found 52% of respondents would vote for Reeves, while 41% would support Presley. Six percent of respondents were undecided, and 1% said they were not going to vote.

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The recent poll remains consistent with similar Mississippi Today/Siena College polls conducted earlier this year. Every poll the newsroom has conducted with the nation’s top pollster has shown Reeves leading.

In January, the polling showed Reeves with a 4-point lead head-to-head over Presley: 43% to 39%, with 14% undecided. A poll in April showed Reeves led Presley by 11 points: 49% to 38%, with 6% undecided.

The latest poll shows the same 11-point spread as the April poll, but the most recent results show Reeves capturing a majority of the electorate for the first time this year.

The poll also surveyed favorable and unfavorable sentiments for both candidates, with the governor having a relatively high unfavorability rating and Presley having a sizeable problem with name recognition.

Reeves was 46% favorable to 49% unfavorable, with 5% saying they didn’t know enough about Reeves to say. Presley was 38% favorable, 29% unfavorable and 35% didn’t know enough about Presley.

Despite Reeves’ unfavorability and Presley’s name recognition problems, both political parties indicated some level of excitement about the upcoming race.

Forty percent of Democrats indicated they were “very excited” about the race and 32% responded they were “somewhat excited” about the race, indicating 72% of Democratic voters show some measure of excitement about the race.

For the GOP, 29% of respondents said they were “very excited” about voting and 41% indicated they were “somewhat excited,” totaling 70% of Republicans who recorded some level of enthusiasm in the upcoming election.

And while Reeves is enjoying some measure of excitement from his base, the voters appear to support issues that he’s either not addressing on the campaign trail or is outright rejecting.

Around 92% indicated some level of concern about rural hospital closures, 90% said they had some measure of worry about the state’s welfare scandal, 70% believed transgender athletes competing in women’s athletics is a serious issue and 72% believed the state’s leaders should expand Medicaid to the working poor.

Presley and Reeves will compete in the general election on Nov. 7 against Gwendolyn Gray, an independent candidate, who did not garner a traceable percentage in the August poll.

The Mississippi Today/Siena College Research Institute poll of 650 registered voters was conducted August 20-28, 2023, and has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points. Siena has an ‘A’ rating in FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of pollsters.

Click here for complete methodology and crosstabs relevant to this story.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.