Poll: Sen. Cochran Has Small Lead Over Tea Partier

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is leading tea primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS) in the GOP primary but it’s a close race, according to a new poll by the Republican pollster Harper Polling.

The poll found Cochran leading McDaniel 45 percent to 40 percent with 15 percent still undecided.

The poll’s findings come weeks after news broke that McDaniel supporter and political blogger “Constitutional Clayton” Kelly and three others were arrested for going to the nursing home of Cochran’s wife and photographing so he could use her image in an anti-Cochran video. Charges range from exploitation of a vulnerable adult to conspiracy to destroying evidence. The investigation is still ongoing.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said what they had read or heard about the incident — likely a reference to the alleged conspiracy to photograph Cochran’s wife — made them less likely to vote for McDaniel while 28 percent said they were more likely. Another 28 percent said what they’d read made no difference and 3 percent said they weren’t sure.

The primary will take place on June 3.

The poll was conducted among 599 likely Republican voters between May 27 and May 28. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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