MS-Sen-B: Wicker Posts Huge Leads in New Polls

Rasmussen (10/27, likely voters, 9/30 in parens):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 43 (47)

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 54 (49)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Ugly, ugly numbers. Wicker takes 12% of the black vote, and a whopping 78% of the white vote (compared to 18% for Ronnie). Musgrove can’t win unless he takes 25% of the white vote, and that goal is looking like it’s slipping away.

Another recent poll has similar news:

USA Polling Group for the Mobile Press Register/University of South Alabama (10/13-23, likely voters):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 32

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 45

(MoE: ±5%)

Rasmussen has been prone to putting out weirdly-gyrating polls in the past, and I’m completely unfamiliar with the USA Polling Group and its track record, but taken together, it’s hard to feel sanguine about this race.

MS-Sen-B: Wicker Up by 1 Point in New Poll

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/14-15, likely voters, 9/8-10 in parens):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 46 (43)

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 47 (48)

(MoE: ±4%)

Well, the tightening of this race (also evident in the most recent Rasmussen poll of Mississippi) is great news, but Musgrove has also inched up to 24% of the white vote — that could well be very close to what he needs in order to squeak out a win here, assuming he can take 90% or more of the black vote (he currently beats Wicker among African-Americans by 83-5, with 12% undecided).

Bonus finding: McCain leads Obama by 50-40 in the same poll.

MS-Sen-B: Musgrove Climbs, Gap Tightens in New Poll

Rasmussen (9/30, likely voters, 8/21 in parens):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 47 (43)

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 49 (53)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

In the previous Rasmussen poll of this race, Wicker had jumped up to 17% among African-Americans — today, the Republican is at a mere 2% (that’s probably a bit ridiculously low, just as 17% was probably overstating his support). Musgrove is at 21% among white voters; he may need to bump that up closer to 24 or 25% in order to seal the deal here, depending on the black turnout.

Note the favorable/unfavorable numbers for both candidates: Wicker is seemingly in stronger shape at 59-36, while Musgrove is a bit more banged up at 51-44. Yet the race is as tight as ever in this poll.

MS-Sen-B: Wicker Leads by 5

InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position for the DeSoto Appeal (9/24, likely voters):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 43

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 48

Undecided: 9

(MoE: ±4%)

It’s a one-day sample, so take that for what it’s worth, but it’s in-line with a recent R2K poll that showed the exact same numbers. In that poll, Musgrove was winning African-American voters by 75-7 and losing among white voters by 23-73. InsiderAdvantage paints a somewhat different picture, with Musgrove and Wicker splitting the black vote by 77-20. The article doesn’t share the breakdown of the white vote, but it would have to be higher than 23% for Musgrove in order for the top lines to balance out.

If Wicker earns 20% of the black vote in November, it’s game over for Musgrove (barring some unexpected over-performance among whites), but that would be a truly remarkable performance for Wicker — and I don’t think he’s there yet. (Although perhaps the lack of party ID on the ballot could cut both ways.)

This one remains close (and the DSCC continues to pump in a lot of ads), but it’s hard not to give Wicker a slight edge for now.

SSP currently rates this race as Lean Republican.

MS-Sen-B: Barbour to Respect the Law?

We’ll believe it when we see it, but Haley Barbour’s mouthpiece is claiming that he’ll respect the law (for a change) and move Mississippi’s Senate election from the bottom of the ballot:

A spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour says he will move the special election for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat off the bottom of the ballot. […]

His spokesman, Pete Smith, elaborated by saying “the governor is going to comply with the ruling and the Senate race will go near the top.”

We’ll see.

MS-Sen-B: MS Supreme Court Says Barbour’s Ballot is Illegal, But Refuses to Enforce Compliance

This is just unreal:

The Mississippi Supreme Court has given a split ruling in a dispute about the ballot placement for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat.

A majority of justices ruled Thursday that state law requires the special election between Republican Roger Wicker and Democrat Ronnie Musgrove to be near the top of the November 4th ballot.

But they stopped short of ordering Republican Gov. Haley Barbour to elevate the race off the bottom.

So let’s get this straight: The Mississippi Supreme Court (stacked with Barbour allies) says that the ballot is illegal, but stops short of ordering Haley Barbour to comply with the law?

I’m shaking my head in disbelief.

Update: The full decision, including the scathing dissent of Justice Diaz, is below the fold.

Here are a few quotes from the dissent:

Given the governor’s recent success at convincing seven members of this Court that a year is sometimes not a year, see Barbour v. State ex. reL Hood, 974 So. 2d 232 (Miss. 2008), one cannot fault him for daring to return to our chamber and insisting that the top is sometimes not the top.

But on the other, by holding that Judge Green exceeded her authority by ordering Governor Barbour and Secretary of State Hosemann to comply with state law, we send out from our chamber little more than a dressed-up request that this now settled law be complied with.

Later Update: Does anyone care to to tell me what the hell this means?

Barbour released a brief statement Thursday after the decision.

“The Supreme Court has spoken; so be it,” Barbour said.

MS-Sen-B: Musgrove on the Air

Here’s a powerful new ad from Ronnie Musgrove:

There’s Ronnie Musgrove, standing in the dilapidated house that he grew up in, telling us about his family’s struggle after he lost his father at age seven, and talking about how he’ll help those who are currently struggling. It’s a powerful message — one that’s very reminiscent of the story of Travis Childers’ life.

MS-Sen-B: Judge Orders Ballot Redo

Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green is ordering Haley Barbour’s illegal ballot to be recalled:

Judge Green’s ruling is that the Wicker, Musgrove race should be with the other senate race on the ballot. Meaning it will be just under the race for president.

And because sample ballots have already been sent out to county election commissioners, Judge Green says those ballots must be recalled and corrected as soon as possible.

Attorneys for Governor Haley Barbour and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann are expected to appeal.

Knowing how perverse the state of justice is in the Mississippi Supreme Court, this victory could be short-lived. We’ll see.

MS-Sen-B: Wicker Leads Musgrove by 5 in New Poll

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (9/8-10, likely voters, 7/21-23):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 43 (44)

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 48 (45)

(MoE: ±4%)

The last poll we’ve seen from this race (by Rasmussen), showed Wicker leading by nine, so this is a better margin all around.

Musgrove wins black voters by 75-7, and loses whites by 23-73. If Musgrove can consolidate black support to the 90% mark and pull in at least 25% of the white vote, he can win. This one will be tough, but it’s still doable.

That said, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and his gang of crumb-bums are going full-steam ahead on their scheme to move this race to the very bottom of the statewide ballot, obscuring the race from first-time voters who might not mark up their ballots from top to bottom. Barbour is a special kind of cynical scum to pull this kind of move.

SSP currently rates this race as Lean Republican.

MS-Sen-B: GOP Goons Move Race to Bottom of the Ballot

More Republican ballot box bullshit:

Over the objection of state Attorney General Jim Hood, the state sample ballot to be used in the November general election will have the U.S. Senate race between Ronnie Musgrove and Roger Wicker at the end of the ballot.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann recommended to Gov. Haley Barbour today during a meeting of the state Election Commission that the special election between Musgrove, a Democrat, and Wicker, a Republican, be placed at the end of the ballot.

Barbour approved the recommendation.

All in all, this is a pretty brazen move designed to discourage first-time voters — many of which are expected to be African-American Obama Democrats — from casting a ballot in the state’s hotly-contested Senate special election. Barbour and the boys really went to great pains in order to hide this race at the tail end of the ballot.

Full statement from the Ronnie Musgrove campaign after the jump.

UPDATE: A local judge has blocked the ballots from being distributed after a restraining order was filed by Pike County Election Commissioner Trudy Berger earlier this afternoon.

Secretary of State Presents Unlawful Ballot, Buries US Senate Race in Ballot

Secretary Hosemann Unable to Cite any Statute to Move Race from Top

Jackson, MS- Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann today presented an unlawful sample ballot which buries the special US Senate race between Governor Ronnie Musgrove and interim US Senator Roger Wicker.  The ballot was approved by Governor Haley Barbour.

Hosemann buried the Musgrove-Wicker race below all local races near the bottom of the ballot.

Hosemann could cite no statue supporting his decision to move the race from the top of the ballot.  However, Attorney General Jim Hood did cite election law requiring federal races be placed at the top of the ballot.

“We will win this election no matter where the Secretary of State puts it on the ballot,” Tim Phillips, Musgrove for Senate campaign manager said.  “But this is about the law and they don’t get to make up their own laws.”

The unlawful ballot is expected to cause confusion for voters expecting to find the Musgrove-Wicker race with other federal elections where it belongs.  The most prominent election in the state will be one of the hardest races to find on Election Day.  

Mississippi election law, code 23-15-367, clearly states federal races, like the Musgrove-Wicker race, belong on the top of the ballot.