Magnolia State voters are concerned about the direction of their state, disapprove of the work being done by the state legislature, and rank infrastructure, healthcare access and cost, and increasing public school funding as their top priorities. Nearly 70% of voters favor creating a state lottery with a majority saying that lottery revenue should be directed to the public schools. These and other findings are detailed in the newest Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey.
Administered through a partnership between Millsaps College and Chism Strategies, the second State of the State Survey was designed to more clearly comprehend the viewpoints of voters about important issues in state government, particularly since the 2018 Legislative Session convened one week ago. The survey also tests the approval of several major political figures such as Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, State Senator Chris McDaniel, and Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley in a year with a U.S. Senate race on the ballot and just one year before all statewide positions and state legislative seats are up for grabs.
“The State of the State Survey finds that although voters are concerned about the state’s current direction, there are several clear-cut policy priorities that may help improve their perceptions of state government and the legislature,” said Dr. Nathan R. Shrader, assistant professor of political science at Millsaps. “These priorities include immense support for creating a state lottery and the need to address very tangible problems like infrastructure and the lack of accessible, affordable health care. In addition to these things, we learned from this survey that several key state officials such as Delbert Hosemann and Lynn Fitch are quite popular with the voters and should be taken seriously as potential candidates for higher office.”
The survey also found some contradictions within the electorate’s views, particularly when it comes to fixing the roads and bridges. While nearly a quarter of all respondents ranked infrastructure improvements as their top policy priority, just 38% favor increasing the state’s gasoline tax to finance the repairs. Likewise, only 29% of voters believe that lottery revenue should be directed to fixing road and bridge repairs compared to 51% who feel that this money should go towards funding public education.
“We are excited to continue our relationship with Millsaps as the College invests in this polling series,” said Brad Chism, senior partner at Chism Strategies. “Millsaps is uniquely positioned to offer credible public opinion research and lead informed discussion about key public policy matters in our state.”
The State of the State Survey involves a partnership between the Millsaps College Political Science Department, the Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement at Millsaps, and Chism Strategies. The survey was conducted December 15-19. Sample size of 578 with 29% cell phone interviews. MOE of 4.08%. Results weighted to reflect 2015 general election turnout for age, race, gender and partisanship.