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Poll finds Mississippi voters unhappy with direction of state and public school funding

POLL: A poll of 509 Mississippi residents

A poll commissioned by Millsaps College found that 40 percent of the poll's 509 respondents thought the state was headed in the wrong direction and would like more spending on public schools and infrastructure.

Here are some of the results:

  • Forty five percent of respondents disapproved of the Republican-led Legislature, while 27.5 percent were unsure and only 26.5 percent approved.

  • Fixing roads and bridges was the top listed priority for the state's elected leaders among those polled at 27 percent, with cutting the size of state government second at 15.9 percent and 14 percent wanting more funding for schools.

  • On school funding, 55.6 percent said the state wasn't spending enough, while only 10 percent thought the state was spending too much.

  • Only 27.5 percent said the state's public schools were excellent or good, with 34.7 percent listing them as poor or failing.

  • However, 42.7 percent said their own local school district was excellent or good, a large disconnect.

  • On the gasoline tax, 71.9 percent were not in support of an increase.

  • 45.8 percent supported a corporate tax rate increase. Mississippi corporations are taxed at 3 percent on the first $5,000 of taxable income, 4 percent at the next $5,000 and 5 percent on income in excess of $10,000, which compares favorably with the 6.5 percent top rate collected by Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee and the 8 percent top rate collected by Louisiana.

  • A lottery is very popular among respondents, as 69.6 percent would support the creation of one to help boost funding to public schools.

  • Gov. Phil Bryant's approval rating in the poll was 53.5 percent, while Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves received 38.4 percent and state Attorney General Jim Hood received 52.3 percent.

While the results appear to favor the Democrat Hood, who has yet to announce his future plans for the 2019 election, 26 percent of Democrats didn't approve of either his or Reeves' performance in office.

Hood does have crossover appeal, as 54.2 percent of Republicans approved of both potential candidates, while 35 of Democrats approved of both.

The poll was performed by Chism Strategies — a Jackson-based, left-leaning political polling and strategy firm that has done work for Obama for America and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) — and sampled 43.7 percent Republicans, 32.1 percent Democrats and 23.4 percent who identify with neither party.

The poll was also weighted "to reflect 2015 general election turnout forage, race, gender and partisanship."

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