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Breaking down the Latest Polls and Debate Ahead of MS Governor’s Race
Dr. Glenn Antizzo’s International Relations class discusses the upcoming governor’s race.
The Mississippi statewide elections are set to be held Tuesday, Nov. 7. Voters across the state will head to the polls to elect state officials, legislators, Public Service Commissioners, and other local leaders. There is no race more talked about than the governor’s race between incumbent Governor Tate Reeves and democratic challenger Brandon Presley, current Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District of Mississippi.
Mississippi College political science professor Dr. Glenn Antizzo believes that this is Governor Reeves’s race to lose.
“Reeves is the incumbent governor, which gives him a tremendous advantage,” Antizzo said.
Dr. Antizzo’s claims are backed by a recent Magnolia Tribune/Mason-Dixon poll, which shows Reeves up eight points over Presley. The poll identified which issues voters are prioritizing in this year’s race, as well as which candidate the respondents trust most to handle each issue. According to both poll respondents and Dr. Antizzo, Reeves's strengths lie in the economy and education following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Reeves’ biggest strength seems to be his handling of the economy,” Antizzo said. “We survived COVID under his watch. We didn’t have the lockdowns that New York and California had. We didn’t have the damage that they had, and we’re doing pretty well by Mississippi standards.”
Dr. Antizzo does acknowledge the possibility of an upset, pointing out that Presley is at an advantage in the polls on the issue of healthcare. This has been a subject of much debate in light of closure of multiple rural hospitals in the state.
“Presley does have a lead on that issue, but six points makes it less of the advantage that Presley would like it to be,” Antizzo said.
Alex Broadhead, a junior at Mississippi College, is double majoring in political science and history with a pre-law minor. Broadhead is in Dr. Antizzo’s International Relations class, in which the governor’s race has been a topic of discussion. He watched the Wednesday, Nov. 1 debate on 16 WAPT News and has spent time analyzing the race going into election day.
“I thought Presley was a more charismatic speaker, but Reeves had better points,” Broadhead said. “It reminded me of the infamous first 2020 debate between Trump and Biden speaking over each other the whole time.”
Broadhead’s classmate, Keiwon Rodgers, is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Administration of Justice. Rodgers also watched the debate and elaborated on Broadhead’s thoughts.
“Tate Reeves did a good job displaying what his campaign commercials have been saying over the past couple of weeks,” Rodgers said. “He also did well focusing on his main issues and avoiding topics that are not favorable to him. At the same time, Brandon Presley did a great job making his presence known. He seemed well prepared and quick on his feet. It felt like he took time to think about every problem before he hit the debate stage.”
Both students also recognized that Reeves’ defense of his position against the expansion of medicaid might affect his campaign while Presley’s failure to deny his campaign contributions from liberal out-of-state donors could be a concern for conservative to moderate voters.
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