Latest Mississippi opinions

The Latest Millsaps College/Chism Strategies poll, released this month, provides interesting insights about Mississippi voters in wake of the upcoming state elections.

The survey states:

Regarding the minimum wage, 72 percent of Mississippi voters support raising the state’s minimum wage, which is currently set at the hourly federal minimum of $7.25, while 24 percent oppose an increase. A plurality of 36 percent back raising it to $10 per hour, 19 percent favor $15 per hour, and 17 percent want it set at $12.50 per hour.

For the seventh consecutive quarter, voters have identified “fixing our state’s roads and bridges” as the top priority for Mississippi leaders, while 79 percent say the state is not spending enough on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

Mississippians also overwhelmingly back current state laws that require parents to vaccinate their children, with 74 percent favoring such an approach and 18 percent in opposition.

The poll asked voters to identify their top priorities for elected state leaders. Fixing roads and bridges topped the list at 26 percent over voters, followed by more funding for public schools at 19 percent, making healthcare more accessible and affordable at 17 percent and reducing the size of state government at 11 percent.

Although there seems to be consensus regarding the need to increase spending on infrastructure, the electorate is divided on how to pay the bills. When given the option of choosing their preferred means of paying for transportation infrastructure upgrades, 26 percent say they would prefer to see higher tax rates on corporations, 19 percent back the creation of toll roads, 18 percent back raising the state gas tax, and another 18 percent favor increasing income taxes for higher wage earners. Just 21 percent say that they do not support any new funding options for transportation infrastructure upgrades.

Mississippi is one of just three states in the nation that fully applies the state sales tax to groceries. Sixty-nine percent of voters support reforming this system while just 31 percent favor keeping the sales tax in place as it is today.

Mississippi voters feel strongly about the well-being of the state’s rural hospitals. Fifty-six percent of respondents say the preservation of Mississippi’s rural hospitals will be “very important” in determining how they vote this November.

Nearly 70 percent of voters favor easing the process by which voting rights are restored to former felons. Just 26 percent believe that felons should lose their voting rights forever. Fifty-two percent say that felons should regain their voting rights after they have served their sentence and their parole, Ten percent believe that felons should regain their voting rights immediately upon release from prison, and seven percent say that felons should never lose their voting rights, even when incarcerated.

Regarding the recent legislation banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, Mississippians have mixed opinions. A plurality of voters — 43 percent — believe that decisions about abortion are best left to the woman and her health care provider, 38 percent say that the state should spend whatever it takes in court to defend the new law even though it will likely be struck down, and another 20 percent say that they are pro-life, but feel that defending legislation that may prove to be unconstitutional is a waste of taxpayer funds.

Mississippians continue to approve of President Donald J. Trump’s job performance more so than voters nationally. President Trump enjoys an approval rating of +13 percent in Mississippi, which is considerably better than his -18 percent rating nationally. This fell along party lines, Republicans approving of Trump, Democrats strongly disapproving.

Nearly 60 percent of Mississippi voters oppose the possibility of requiring formal party registration to vote in the state’s primary elections.

The Mississippi legislature still struggles with 43 percent of voters disapproving of its job performance compared to 26 percent approving.

You can find additional details on the poll by Googling “Millsaps Chism April 2019 poll.”



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