Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Louisiana Polls Show Definitive Trends

In House, Polling, Senate on November 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

JMC Analytics, a Louisiana polling staple, conducted two surveys for the upcoming run-off election: one for the US Senate contest and other in the open Baton Rouge congressional district. Both campaigns will be decided on Dec. 6. The third federal run-off election, that in the state’s 5th Congressional District, was not tested.

Senate

Like all other pollsters, JMC finds Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6), the challenger, holding a big lead over incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). The automated poll of 754 Louisiana registered voters who participated in the Nov. 4 election was conducted on Nov. 20. The ballot test yields Cassidy a 53-38 percent lead, the fifth post-election poll to find the Baton Rouge Congressman holding a double-digit advantage.

But the underlying result is actually a bit worse for Landrieu. Posing a follow-up question to those saying they were undecided, in order to determine the direction they are leaning, the group breaks 55-40 percent in Cassidy’s favor.

The third question queried the respondents’ impression of Landrieu’s leadership on the Keystone Pipeline issue, her sponsored legislation that failed by one vote in the Senate lame duck session, and drew the support of only 13 other members of her party. Twenty-nine percent stated that she used her clout effectively, while 39 percent said she did not. The remainder were undecided or had no opinion.

The major cross-tab finding reveals a poor Democratic loyalty factor for Landrieu. While Cassidy is getting support from Republicans at an 89-7 percent ratio, Landrieu is losing 31 percent of Democrats. Only 58 percent of self-identified members of her own political party are saying they will vote for the senator in the run-off election. It is difficult to see a Landrieu path to victory when her party loyalty factor is this low.

LA-6

Run-off voters in the open Baton Rouge-anchored congressional district will choose a successor to Rep. Cassidy. Republican Garret Graves, the former Louisiana Coastal Authority chairman, enjoys a huge lead over 87-year-old former governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards (D) according to the JMC Analytics data. Here, the firm interviewed 793 6th District respondents all of whom voted in the Nov. 4 election. The poll was conducted on Nov. 17.

The firm finds Graves leading Edwards 59-34 percent. When pushing the undecideds for a decision, the latter group breaks 61-35 percent in favor of the Republican. The Election Day vote found Edwards topping the field of twelve candidates with 30 percent of the vote, followed closely by Graves’ 27 percent. But, the long-time Louisiana politician was the only major Democratic candidate, thus allowing him to coalesce the most loyal party voters.

The colorful Edwards served four non-consecutive terms as governor, and was elected four times to the US House (1964, ’66, ’68, and ’70). He left Congress in 1972 to become governor.

After being convicted on multiple counts of corruption, Edwards served eight years in federal prison. Now released and married to a woman 51 years his junior and with a one-year old child, Edwards says he is running for the House, “because convicted felons cannot run for governor”.

Graves is winning the Republican vote 86-10 percent, while Edwards carries the Democrats 59-35 percent, similar to Landrieu’s poor statewide number. The latter does perform well with the district’s African-American voters, however, winning this group 85-10 percent. When testing the US Senate run-off here in Bill Cassidy’s own congressional district, the Republican leads incumbent Sen. Landrieu 60-31 percent.

Based upon the numbers determined in the statewide race and here in the 6th, it is reasonable to assume that 5th District Republican physician Ralph Abraham also enjoys a substantial lead over Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo mostly because the northeastern Louisiana district has such a strong GOP voting history. If true, we can expect a Republican sweep of the Louisiana run-offs on Dec. 6.

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