Will the Mississippi Personhood Amendment Pass? It's a Toss-Up.

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 7 2011 11:32 AM

Will the Mississippi Personhood Amendment Pass? It's a Toss-Up.

Public Policy Polling comes back from the field with probably the final poll on Mississippi's ballot initiative that would define life as starting at conception. Forty-five percent of voters support it. Forty-four percent of voters oppose it.

Men (48-42), whites (54-37), and Republicans (65-28) support the proposal.  But women (42-46), African Americans (26-59), Democrats (23-61), and independents (35-51) oppose it.  The good news for those opposed to the amendment is that 11% of voters are undecided and their demographics are 58% women, 54% Democratic, and 42% black.
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That's still awfully good for the Personhood team. The last time we saw a measure like this, in a mixed year for Republicans in Colorado, it went down by 40 points. Colorado wasn't the ideal place to test this. Mississippi is. You've got a conservative white electorate and a black electorate that is generally more supportive of social conservative causes than it is of the GOP. (When's the last time a Republican presidential candidate got 26 percent of the black vote in Mississippi?) The Democratic candidate for governor is Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree, the first African-American to win a nomination for that office -- and he backs the amendment.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.