Reeves’ political prospects are further hurt by the recent highly publicized TANF scandal involving the misuse of Mississippi state welfare funds. Notably, this scandal has grabbed the public’s attention as more than 9 out of 10 voters (92%) say they have seen or heard something about it recently, including more than half (55%) who say they have heard a lot about it.
The broad awareness of this scandal has inflicted real harm on the Governor’s standing with voters. In the poll, after asking whether they had heard of this scandal, voters were given a short additional description about its details including the Governor’s decision to fire an attorney who was charged with investigating the matter. Following this short description, nearly two-thirds of voters (64%) said what they heard made them feel unfavorable about Reeves, including nearly half (46%) who said it made them feel very unfavorable about him.
Ahead of the November 2023 general election, incumbent Governor Tate Reeves faces strong political headwinds as voters are dissatisfied with the current trajectory of the state and have soured in their views of the Governor and his job managing the state. In particular, voters are very disappointed with the Governor’s involvement in the state’s welfare funding scandal. As a result, there is a legitimate opportunity for a candidate like Brandon Presley to give a serious challenge to Reeves as our polling shows Presley currently leading the incumbent in a general election matchup.
These results have been picked up by local, state and national news sources. Additionally, Ben Tulchin, President, discussed the findings on Mississippi Public Broadcasting on Feb. 17. Listen in here (skip to minute 13:30).
We list the links to some of the news coverage of the poll below:
- Democrat Brandon Presley—Cousin Of Elvis—Close To Mississippi’s Republican Governor In Recent Polls (Forbes)
- Poll: Reeves trails Presley in 2023 governor’s race, welfare scandal a top issue (Mississippi Today WJTV)
- Republicans’ Worst Fears About Mississippi May Be Coming True (Newsweek)
- Second poll shows tight race between Tate Reeves and Brandon Presley for MS governor (Clarion Ledger)
- Poll: Reeves trails Presley in 2023 governor’s race, welfare scandal a top issue (Daily Journal)