Democrat John Bel Edwards has a 20% lead over Senator David Vitter in the Louisiana Gubernatorial runoff, according to a survey released today by WVLA and JMC Analytics.
The brand new, statewide poll results confirm something that hasn’t happened in 7 years: A Democratic Governor could take office in Louisiana.
Today, WVLA released a survey of 600 likely voters, conducted by JMC analytics. When asked who they’d vote for if the election were held today, 52% of people chose State Representative John Bel Edwards. 32% chose Senator David Vitter, and 16% were undecided.
These numbers are surprising because they show that Edwards, a Democrat, will pick up more votes from former Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne than Vitter, a fellow Republican.
Doesn’t surprise me. So many of the Edwards voters are Anybody But Vitter people. Edwards, a pro-life, pro-gun, retired Army Ranger who has served for some time in the Louisiana legislature, is a plausible conservative Democrat. The state sheriffs have endorsed Edwards, and have dismissed a Vitter ad  saying that Edwards is going to release hordes of inmates onto the streets of Louisiana.
I predict that Vitter will release an ad of some sort attempting to force Edwards to take a position on efforts by Mitch Landrieu, the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Circle, and to rename it. This has nothing to do with running the state, but Vitter knows that this is a potential emotional flashpoint with many Louisiana voters, both white and black. The kind of voters, both black and white, who approve of Landrieu’s actions aren’t going to vote Vitter anyway, and compelling Edwards to take a stand one way or the other may suppress Edwards’s vote — unless the Edwards campaign can successfully rebut the claim. Watch. It’s a long way from now till the November 21 runoff vote.
Mind you, if voters in the October 24 open primary had chosen either Angelle or Dardenne (who together got more far more votes than Vitter), there wouldn’t be much of a contest now; Louisiana would be well on its way to another Republican governor. Angelle and Dardenne split the anti-Vitter Republican vote, though.