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Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey: Mississippians Back Higher Cigarette Tax, Medicaid Expansion, Gun Safety

by Web on April 9, 2018

Voters Give Strong Reviews for Governor Bryant, Attorney General Hood

Mississippians support an increase in the cigarette tax, expansion of Medicaid, and stronger regulations for gun shows, according to the April 2018 Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey. Voters statewide are slightly more upbeat about the direction of the state than in previous months. With the conclusion of the 2018 legislative session, Mississippians have reservations about the performance of the State Legislature, but are more likely to approve of their own elected representatives than they are of the institution. They also strongly approve of the performance of Governor Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood.

According to the survey, 44% of respondents agree that the state is on the right track. This is an increase from just 37% in the September 2017 State of the State Survey and 42% in the January 2018 survey. Looking at the State Legislature, 30% of Mississippians approve of the institution’s performance while 41% disapprove. On the other hand, 40% approve of the work being done by their own elected legislators while 30% disapprove.

“We are hopeful that the Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey will continue to shed light on the way citizens perceive their institutions of government, some of the key actors in state politics, and important issues that have been debated in the most recent legislative session as well as past sessions,” said Dr. Nathan Shrader, assistant professor of political science and director of American Studies at Millsaps College. “Particularly, we find for the third consecutive quarter that Mississippians remain adamant about fixing roads and bridges, securing more funds for public schools, and improving access and affordability of health insurance in the state. These are important findings because we are now seeing clear patterns form within the electorate regarding their priorities and preferences.”

Other key survey findings from the Millsaps College-Chism Strategies State of the State Survey:

  • 54% approve of the performance of Governor Phil Bryant, while 35% disapprove
  • Attorney General Jim Hood has an approval rating of 55%, while 25% disapprove
  • Lt. Governor Tate Reeves has an approval rating of 38% and a disapproval rating of 34%
  • 51% approve and 45% disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job performance
  • Just 30% approve of the performance of the State Legislature, but 40% approve of their own elected legislators
  • A combined 63% say that their top policy priorities are either fixing roads and bridges, more money for public schools, or improved access and affordability of healthcare
  • Voters favor expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 52% to 36%
  • 64% of voters favor raising the state’s cigarette tax, a proposal defeated by the legislature
  • Mississippians are evenly split on arming schoolteachers, but strongly favor tighter regulations of gun shows

“Our partnership with Millsaps College on this survey research is important to me as an alumnus of the Millsaps Political Science Department,” said Brad Chism, President of Chism Strategies. “This survey series helps Millsaps enhance its role in the informed discussion about key issues in our state. This research will be a useful tool in any serious debate about public policy alternatives 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 completed March 27th. Sample size of 603 with 67% of interviews conducted via landline and 33% via cell phone. The survey has a Margin of Error of +/-4 %. Results were weighted to reflect 2015 general election turnout for age, race, gender, and partisanship.

Survey Results

Summary Analysis