A new poll from the Tea Party Express shows that Tea Party primary challenger and state Sen. Chris McDaniel is locked in a tight race with 36-year incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) two months from the election.
A poll of 400 likely primary voters conducted by NSON Opinion Strategy found that when asked if they would support McDaniel or Cochran in the primary, 37 percent said McDaniel, whereas 45 percent said Cochran.
After being told that the Tea Party Express and other Tea Party groups back McDaniel, when asked which candidate they would support, 42 percent said they would vote for McDaniel, 41 percent for Cochran, creating a statistical tie.
Cross tab polling data provided to Breitbart News also shows that 35 percent of likely GOP primary voters have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of McDaniel. The data also shows that 29 percent have an either “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” opinion of McDaniel. Another 25 percent have “never heard” of McDaniel, and 29 percent have “no opinion.”
Tea Party Express chief strategist Sal Russo said in a statement that the poll “validates the powerful impact of the Tea Party in national politics since the first impact was recognized in the special election upset victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts in early 2010.”
“Economic conservatives, driven by the grassroots Tea Party movement, are going to be a determining factor in electing Republicans,” Russo said. “Voters are looking for fiscal conservatives willing to fight to reduce the size, cost, and intrusiveness of the federal government with pro-growth policies that will boost the economy.”
Among other groups, Tea Party Express has endorsed McDaniel. McDaniel also has the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“The Tea Party endorsements are providing an important boost to McDaniel, who is still unknown to many voters,” Russo said. “With 58% of the electorate yet to form an opinion on McDaniel, his opportunity to grow support remains high.”
A Rasmussen poll earlier this week showed McDaniel beating the Democratic front runner for the Mississippi U.S. Senate race easily, 47 percent to Democratic Rep. Travis Childers’ 35 percent.