Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roger Wicker in Solid Shape

Democrats may have lost their last, best chance to take out Roger Wicker when Ronnie Musgrove came up short against him in 2008. Wicker now has some of the best approval numbers of anyone in the Senate and leads basically every big name Democrat left in Mississippi by double digits in hypothetical contests for reelection.

51% of voters approve of the job Wicker's doing to a paltry 23% who disapprove. That's the lowest level of disapproval we've ever found for an elected Senator with the exception of Ohio freshman Rob Portman who only has a 22% disapproval but also has 53% of voters with no opinion about him just a few months into his tenure. Wicker's 73/10 approval with Republicans is not in any way unusual but his plurality approval from Democrats at 33/29 certainly is. And he's on solid ground with independents as well at 46/36.

We tested five potential Democratic opponents- none of whom have really shown any interest- against Wicker. Former Attorney General Mike Moore did 'best,' trailing by 10 points at 48-38. Former Congressman Gene Taylor trails by 12 at 48-36, current Attorney General Jim Hood trails by 14 at 50-36, former Governor and 2008 candidate Ronnie Musgrove trails by 17 at 52-35, and former Congressman Travis Childers trails by 18 at 51-33.

It's interesting that Musgrove fares so much worse now than his 2008 performance, when he lost by 10 points. He has negative favorability numbers at 37/40, which are worse than Hood's (43/26), Moore's (39/23), and Taylor's (27/26). I don't know enough about Mississippi politics to know whether Musgrove's unpopularity was something in place in 2008 or if he's become more unpopular since that campaign but it makes you wonder whether Democrats might have had a better chance with a different candidate in 2008, even if Musgrove as a former Governor seemed like the best option on paper. It's water under the bridge now.

Nobody's talking about this as a competitive seat for 2012 and with Wicker's numbers you can see why.

Full results here

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