Mississippi Senate: Musgrove Leads in New Democratic Poll

by Stuart Rothenberg May 20, 2008 · 1:48 PM EDT

Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) leads appointed-Sen. Roger Wicker (R) 48%-40% in the Mississippi Senate race, according to a new poll released by the Democrat’s campaign and the DSCC. Musgrove benefits from higher name identification, and the race will close, but the initial numbers are good for the Democrat.

Musgrove had a total name identification of 95% — 57% favorable/30% unfavorable — in the survey of 600 likely voters, conducted May 15-18 by Hamilton Campaigns. Wicker’s name I.D. was only 70% (42% favorable/14% unfavorable).

In the 1st Congressional District, which Wicker represented and Democrats recently picked up in the special election, Wicker leads Musgrove 48%-43%.

Like the 1st District race, party labels will not appear on the ballot beside Wicker and Musgrove’s name, because the November race is technically a special election to fill Republican Trent Lott’s seat. That factor could help Musgrove win voters who are also planning to vote for Republican Sen. John McCain, who is winning the state 50%-41%, according to the poll. President Bush won Mississippi 59%-39% in 2004.

Even though he has the lead today, the race is still a difficult one for Musgrove, since the state leans Republican in federal races. But it can no longer be considered Safe for the Republicans. We’re moving the race to Clear Advantage for the Incumbent Party.