by Web on September 29, 2017
Mississippians Express Mixed Views About State’s Direction, Elected Leadership
Mississippi voters are uncertain about the direction of their state, wary of insufficient public school funding and overall quality, and open to considering new funding streams to provide for public education. These findings and more are detailed in the results of the first ever Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey.
Administered through a partnership between Millsaps College and Chism Strategies, the State of the State Survey was designed to gauge how Mississippians assess key actors and institutions in state government, where they would like to see the legislature focus their energy during the 2018 session, the state of public schools locally and across the state, and the public’s receptiveness to generating new education revenue.
“The findings of the State of the State Survey may help inform policymakers in the weeks and months ahead in their efforts to tackle critical issues impacting our state and our citizens,” said Dr. Nathan R. Shrader, assistant professor of political science at Millsaps. “Among the main lessons learned from this survey are that Mississippians are concerned about the state of public education and that nearly 60% believe that funding is currently too low. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, voters do not reflexively reject options for raising revenue to address the problem.”
The survey finds that a plurality of Mississippians—40% overall—believe that the state is on the wrong track. The survey, which assessed job performance of three state-wide elected officials, showed strong majorities approve of the job performance of Governor Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood while there is more uncertainty among the public regarding Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and significant disapproval of the State Legislature. Although voters are somewhat divided on what they see as the top priority facing the legislature, nearly 30% want to see an emphasis on fixing roads and bridges.
The survey, which involves a partnership between the Political Science Department and the Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement at Millsaps and Chism Strategies, looks to become a regular fixture of political discourse in the state.
“Millsaps has always played an important role in our state’s civic culture and we are delighted to aid the College in promoting informed discussion about key public policy matters,” said Brad Chism, senior partner at Chism Strategies. “We want this polling series to become a benchmark for all who are trying to better our state. We are confident in the survey methodology and representation of voters by age, gender, ethnicity, and partisan affiliation, and look forward to the broader exchange of ideas that arise from this effort.”
The survey was conducted September 14-18. Sample size of 509 with 32% cell phone interviews. MOE of 4.4%. Results were weighted to reflect 2015 general election turnout for age, race, gender and partisanship.