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Mississippi Senate: Musgrove (D) 47% Wicker (R) 46%

Mississippi’s appointed U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) finds himself in a very tight election battle to win the job on his own. University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato has noted that this will be a “real political battle” which is “a rarity in a state that’s usually red as red can be.”

The first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the race finds a pure toss-up--former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) attracts 47% of the vote while Wicker earns 46%.

Musgove leads by ten points among women but trails by eight among men. The Democratic challenger leads among voters under 50 while the GOP incumbent leads among those who have passed the half-century mark. Musgove is supported by 81% of Democrats, Wicker by 76% of Republicans, and Wicker holds a very modest 44% to 40% lead among the state’s unaffiliated voters.

Both men are viewed favorably by 49% of the state’s voters. Wicker is viewed unfavorably by 32% and Musgrove by 42%.

Twenty-two percent (22%) have a Very Unfavorable opinion of Musgrove. Just 10% hold such a negative view of Wicker.

Mississippi is in the unusual position of having two U.S. Senate races this year due to the retirement of Trent Lott. In December, Wicker was appointed to replace Lott by Governor Haley Barbour. Barbour also set November as the date for an election to replace Lott. Democrats had hoped to have a special election much sooner to avoid giving Wicker eleven months of incumbency. However, the State Supreme Court ruled that the November date would stand.

Barbour may be a campaign asset to the man he appointed. Fifty-three percent (53%) of the state’s voters say he is doing a good or an excellent job as Governor. Just 17% say he is doing a poor job.

In the other Mississippi Senate race, Thad Cochran enjoys a sizable lead and should cruise to re-election.

Wicker is far from the only Republican Senator with re-election concerns this year. Early polling has shown at least ten other Republican Senate seats are potentially in play including seats in Virginia, Alaska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Texas. Not all of those races will be won by Democrats, but the fact that so many Republican seats are vulnerable virtually assures that the Democratic Senate majority will grow. The underlying reason that so many Republican seats are at risk is that fewer and fewer Americans consider themselves to be Republicans.

Rasmussen Markets data shows that Wicker is currently given a % chance of keeping his job with a victory in November. This figure is updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.

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Mississippi Leans Republican

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2006 Results

Wicker (R)




Musgrove (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports May 27, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Mississippi




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About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.