The race to replace Haley Barbour as Governor of Mississippi this fall doesn't appear to have much potential for competitiveness. The presumptive Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant, has leads of 26-31 points over his two most likely Democratic opponents.
The one reason to think the dynamic of the race could potentially change between now and the fall is that none of the candidates, even Bryant himself, is terribly well known. He is the only candidate with greater than 50% name recognition and the only one with positive favorability numbers, at 32/27. Democratic Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has the next highest profile at 39% with an opinion about him, followed by fellow Democrat Bill Luckett and Republican Dave Dennis at 35%, and Republican Hudson Holliday at 31%. It's conceivable that one of these folks could catch fire as their profile increases and they become better known but there's nothing to suggest that will happen based on their current numbers- each has at least 9% more voters with an unfavorable opinion of them than a positive one.
Bryant leads Luckett 53-27 and is up 56-25 on DuPree. He has his party unified around him in both match ups (84-4 over DuPree and 82-3 over Luckett with Republicans) but what really drives his large margins is the numbers with Democrats and independents. He's holding Luckett to only 55% of the Democratic vote and DuPree to an even lower 49%. That's partially because there are a lot of undecideds but Bryant is also outright taking 23-28% of the Democratic vote. Perhaps the most telling finding on the poll when it comes to the future viability of the Democratic Party in Mississippi is that white Democrats actually plan to vote for Bryant over their party's candidates- 44-26 over DuPree and 43-33 over Luckett.
One thing that would need to happen for Democrats to win a major race in Mississippi is for the party to have candidates who are at least in good standing with the party's own voters- that is not the case here. DuPree's favorability even with Democratic voters comes down at 21/32 and Luckett's is not much better at 18/27.
The race gets a little bit closer if one of the lesser Republican candidates were somehow to snag the nomination, but not that close. Dennis leads Luckett by 18 points at 43-25 and DuPree by 13 points at 41-28. Holliday leads Luckett by 10 points at 38-28 and DuPree by 9 points at 37-28.
This is our first poll of the Mississippi Governor's race and at this level of competitiveness it may well be our last too.
Full results here