Statewide survey reveals voters’ thoughts on policy issues

A special session of the Mississippi state legislature may open doors for a decision to be made...
A special session of the Mississippi state legislature may open doors for a decision to be made on where the BP Settlement money goes. (Photo Source: WLOX)
Updated: Apr. 5, 2019 at 8:00 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippians will be going back to the polls in four months for statewide elections. With statewide candidates’ campaigns kicking into high gear, there will be more talk of the issues that impact the Magnolia State. The latest Millsaps College/Chism Strategies State of the State Survey reveals some patterns about voters views. Part of the survey that’s remained the same is a ranking of priorities by issue.

“We’ve asked now seven consecutive quarters what should be the top priority facing Mississippi’s elected officials in Jackson," explained Millsaps political science professor Dr. Nathan Shrader. "And seven straight quarters, the most popular response is fixing roads and bridges.”

Consistent second and third priorities have been more funding for public schools and accessibility and affordability of healthcare.

“A pattern here that I think has emerged, voters pay more attention to politics than we give them credit for at times," Shrader said. "They know more about the issues, and I think sometimes we think that they’re not paying attention and that they’re aloof from politics.”

Many of the policy priorities surveyed are issues that we’re also seeing listed on many candidates websites as part of their platforms. So, what could a takeaway of these State of the State surveys be as we approach the statewide election?

“We simply want to make our elected leaders aware of the positions held by constituents across the state," added Shrader. "That doesn’t always mean that popular opinion alone should dictate their views and their positions, but what we hope this does is inform them that views may be different than what they anticipate.”

It could also provide a statewide perspective beyond individual lawmaker’s districts.

A less discussed topic is minimum wage. Seventy-two percent responded in the survey that they support raising the minimum wage, but there was more of a split on how much to raise it.

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