Wednesday, October 01, 2008


A True Test of Obama's coatails- Ronnie Musgrove

Ronnie Musgrove (D) was the Governor of Mississippi from 2000-2004. He was "elected" (selected by the state legislature) a year after many southern Democrats retook the throne of state houses throughout the south (Roy Barnes in Georgia for example). And like all the others, he was kicked out after a term. Though Musgrove was a social conservative by most standards (gay rights (no gay adoption) and religion (see Roy Moore)), he did raise teacher pay and tried to rid the state of the Confederate Flag. It was that latter that certainly played a part in his defeat by Haley Barbour.

But this year, Musgrove sees redemption. He is trying to defeat Senator Roger Wicker in a reelection. Wicker, a former representative, was appointed by Barbour to fill the seat abandoned by former Majority Leader Trent Lott. This, of course, puts Musgrove in an advantage of having better name recognition statewide. At the same time, opinions of Wicker ability as a senator are not fully formed. Mississippians don't necessarily think of him as a Senator, even if they think he is a good guy (most polling says he is). This gives Musgrove and the Democrats a chance to take a Senate seat that they probably won't have a chance at for another 20 years.

Even so, this is the type of race that would normally end up something like 53-45 in favor of Wicker. Wicker would carry 75-80% of the White Vote and 5% of the Black vote (Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, is a Mississippian Republican), and it would be over. This year, however, is different.

Barack Obama is the nominee for the Democratic Party. With Obama on the ballot, you can expect every single Black person to come out and vote. And with African-Americans making up 37.4% of the population, Musgrove really has something.

Obama is going to carry 95+% of the Black vote. Musgrove is probably going to equal that. In fact, the latest Rasmussen polls tells that story. It actually has Obama carrying 98% of the Black Vote (really not that shocking). Though, Musgrove only carries 96% in the poll (statistically insignificant difference), the number is amazing.

If Musgrove carries 96% of the Black vote, and African-Americans make up 37.4% of the electorate, he'll only need about 22-24% of the White Vote. Obama will probably never be able to get to that point. The Rasmussen poll has Musgrove at 21%. He got 22% of it in 2003 (of course Blacks made up only 33% of the electorate in that off-off-year election).

So although Obama won't win the state, he could get the Democrats a Senate seat by providing Musgrove with the extra voters he needs. A seat that could be the Democrats 60th.

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