Monday, April 11, 2011

GOP Voters in Mississippi - Those who favor Palin are more likely to think inter-racial marriage should be illegal.

Public Policy Polling just published a report on its recent late March polling in Mississippi of likely Republican voters to ferret out who among the current potential GOP presidential candidates most closely trails Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's down-home popularity.   The closest potential contenders behind Barbour (who enjoys 37% support) are:

Mike Huckabee   -   19%
Sarah Palin          -   10%
Newt Gingrich     -   10%
Mitt Romney       -     6 %
Michelle Bachman, Tim Pawlenty & Ron Paul  - a smattering each.

For some reason, presumably to tie racial attitudes into the preferences of more conservative voters for advancement of some political agenda, the 400 likely GOP voters were also asked by PPP whether they felt that inter-racial marriage should  be illegal or not.  This question was simply put:

Do you think inter-racial marriage should be legal or illegal?

(No indication in the report whether those being polled knew that it could not be made illegal under the U.S. Constitution (and hopefully under Mississippi's as well), but presumably the majority of responders knew this.  I don't say this tongue in cheek.  I would guess that if you asked 400 citizens of Mississippi which state produced more milk, Wisconsin, California or Dairyland, Dairyland would get a smattering of votes.)

The results were:

Inter-racial marriage should be illegal -   46 %
Inter-racial marriage should be legal  -    40 %
No opinion                                      -     14%

That's the kind of loaded question that you might expect to elicit a little prevarication, so it is logical to assume that 46% answering that they felt inter-racial marriage should be illegal represents an under-reporting as to that social attitude.

What is most interesting is whom among the GOP candidates for president were most favorably viewed by the poll responders who are opposed to the legality of inter-racial marriage. 

Sarah Palin's net favorability among the GOP voters who think interracial marriage should be illegal (+55 at 74/19) is 17 points higher than it is with those who think interracial marriage should be legal (+38 at 64/26.)

By contrast, the net favorability numbers of Mitt Romney, clearly the most moderate of the GOP candidates covered by the survey, saw the opposite trend. He's at +23 (53/30) with voters who think interracial marriage should be legal but 19 points lower at just +4 favorability rating (44/40) with those who think it should be illegal.

Turning back the clock 150 years.

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