Poll: GOPers Divided By Mississippi Runoff Election

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July 15, 2014 10:01 a.m.

A majority of voters in the runoff election for U.S. Senate in believe Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) rightfully won over Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), according to a new Public Policy Polling survey obtained by TPM. But broken down by party affiliation, Republicans seem more divided over the results.

Fifty-four percent said that Cochran won while 40 percent said that McDaniel won. Another 6 percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.

But that’s not quite reflective of party affiliation. A big majority of Democrats, 76 percent, said that Cochran won the runoff while 49 percent of Republicans said the incumbent senator won the primary. By contrast, just 19 percent of Democrats said McDaniel actually won the runoff while 45 percent of Republicans said he won. Forty-one percent of Independents said McDaniel won the primary.

In other words, a decisive amount of Democrats believe Cochran won the runoff while a much smaller percentage of Republicans (49 percent) believe Cochran fairly beat McDaniel.

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The findings come weeks after the June 24 runoff was called for Cochran. But McDaniel has refused to concede the race and instead accused the Cochran campaign of helping to foster voter fraud to win the election. McDaniel has also argued that he actually won the Republican vote and Cochran only won through courting Democratic voters.

McDaniel’s campaign and supporters, since the runoff, have been poring over poll books to gather evidence to challenge the election results. On Friday McDaniel said he had found 8,300 “questionable ballots.”

The poll also found that a majority, 52 percent, said that McDaniel should concede while 39 percent said that he should not concede. Similar to the question of who won the election, more Democrats said that McDaniel should concede than Republicans. Sixty percent of Democrats said McDaniel should concede while 27 percent of Democrats think McDaniel should not concede. By contrast, 52 percent of Republicans said McDaniel should concede while a smaller 39 percent said that he should not concede.

Approval numbers for McDaniel and Cochran are virtually the same, the poll found. Forty-seven percent said they approve of Cochran’s job performance as senator while 44 percent disapproved. Meanwhile 46 percent said they have a favorable opinion of McDaniel while 46 percent said they disapproved.

The poll was conducted July 10 to 13 among 501 Republican primary voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. One hundred percent of those surveyed said they voted in the runoff of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

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