Poll: Tea Party's McDaniel Takes Slight Lead Over Thad Cochran Heading Into Runoff

Tea Party-backed State Sen. Chris McDaniel has taken a slight lead — within the margin of error — in a new poll from Chism Strategies over 42-year incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS).

The survey's results, announced on Saturday, show McDaniel with a 50.6 percent to 47.6 percent lead over Cochran, with 1.8 percent undecided. The survey was conducted on Thursday — two days after McDaniel bested Cochran in the popular vote with neither candidate topping 50 percent, forcing the race into a runoff — and it polled 832 likely GOP voters. The poll’s margin of error was 3.3 percent, putting McDaniel’s lead at the margin of error’s outer edge.

A memorandum that pollster Brad Chism released with the announcement says that equal percentages of McDaniel and Cochran supporters plan to return to the polls for the runoff and equal percentages believe their candidate will win.

In crosstabs that Chism released with the poll, an extraordinary amount of young voters voted for — and plan to continue to support — Cochran. Seventy-five percent of 18-35 year-olds voted for Cochran in the primary, compared to 25 percent who voted for McDaniel.

While McDaniel picks up some support from Cochran’s youth voters — 29 percent of 18-35 year-olds say they’ll vote for McDaniel in the runoff — Cochran still has an overwhelming 71 percent of support from 18 to 35 year-old voters.


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