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Democrat Far Ahead in LA Governor’s Race

Bad news for Sen. David Vitter, the GOP candidate for Louisiana governor: [1]

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 [2] saying that Edwards is going to release hordes of inmates onto the streets of Louisiana.

The Baton Rouge Advocate has an analysis showing that Edwards, a conservative Democrat, and Vitter agree on far more than they disagree. [3]

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.

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15 Comments To "Democrat Far Ahead in LA Governor’s Race"

#1 Comment By Bernie On November 2, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

If you watch this core Edwards ad on his campaign website, you’ll see why he’ll probably win. It reads like a *Who’s Who* to a Louisianan heart. Really.

[4]

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 2, 2015 @ 9:37 pm

Thanks Bernie, that was worth watching. Of course its a family and values presentation full of stuff nobody could quarrel with, no firm stands on issues, but it actually makes me feel warm toward the guy.

As for statues and such-like distractions, I think if Vitter raises the Lee statue as an issue, Edwards should say “If I am elected governor, I will not support putting up a statue commemorating the appearance in Louisiana of Adlai Ewing Stevenson, even if he was a Democrat.”

#3 Comment By Jeff On November 2, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

Rod,

Just wondering if you could fill an non-Louisianan in on Louisiana’s politics. If France imprisoned people at the rate Louisiana did we would have to lock up 700,000 people. Instead we are able to imprison only 70,000 people.

I haven’t heard too much about this during my time in America but am curious. How is criminal justice portrayed in Louisiana politics? Is it just the fear you mentioned in this blog post, or is there more to it?

[NFR: Louisiana is a relatively poor, relatively violent state. We say lock ’em up. That’s pretty much where it ends. — RD]

#4 Comment By Jeff On November 2, 2015 @ 11:18 pm

[NFR: Louisiana is a relatively poor, relatively violent state. We say lock ’em up. That’s pretty much where it ends. — RD]

That seems like some “Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a night; set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life” logic to me.

To each his own though. Thanks for the quick response.

#5 Comment By Jim On November 3, 2015 @ 12:13 am

“The brand new, statewide poll results confirm something that hasn’t happened in 7 years..”

I hate when normal occurrences are cooked up to be spectacular events.

First time in 7 years? Hold my calls….

#6 Comment By JonF On November 3, 2015 @ 6:03 am

How can Vitter “force” Edwards to take a stand on the Lee statue? All Edwards has to say is “That’s a local matter for the people of New Orleans to decide”.

#7 Comment By DRK On November 3, 2015 @ 8:57 am

Actually, it is a pretty big deal. Right now if you look at a map of state governors’ political affiliations, it is a sea of red; it’s been that way for years. If Louisiana elects a Democratic governor, that will put a blue island in the middle of all that red. It might mean a seemingly inexorable trend is falling apart.

That said, I think this is more about the deep unpopularity of Vitter, and to a great extent, Jindal, than it is anything else. But the fact that a sleaze like Vitter kept getting elected, even in Louisiana, is an indictment of the one-party system now prevalent in so many states. (Blue as well as red). Maybe this one election is a crack in that system, and maybe we can return to the bipartisan system that leads to better governance, and hey, maybe pigs will fly, but we all gotta dream…..

#8 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On November 3, 2015 @ 10:18 am

Jim is right, and DRK is nearsighted. Nothing is so unreliable as projecting the trends of the last five, seven, ten, or twenty years indefinitely into the future. The mere fact that Republicans have been elected to govern all the southern states, or nearly so, makes it almost inevitable that there will soon be a break in that pattern. The fact that Republicans are acquiring all the baggage of incumbency makes it increasingly likely that someone not a Republican will win an election or two. The fact that Republicans, like Democrats, run on wishful thinking and unfounded assumptions, makes it inevitable that they will substantially fail to live up to the voters fond expectations.

The number one reason Scott Walker got elected in the first place in Wisconsin is that we had a tired old Democratic incumbent, and when he thoughtfully declined to run for a third term, the Dems put up another tired old incumbent (holding other offices), while Walker ran as a fresh new face (without a hint of his intended policies). How did he get a Republican majority in the legislature? The Democratic leadership in both houses were mired in scandals and showing a cowardly disinclination to to anything of substance before the election, because no doubt some bloc of voters would be offended by anything worth doing. Republicans fall into the same traps, inevitably. That’s why the pendulums swing, and why it seldom makes a lot of difference.

#9 Comment By JonF On November 3, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

We had a “crack” in the system here in Maryland last year: the supposed Democratic shoe-in candidate for governor was trounced by Republican Larry Hogan. Who however has a Democratic legislature to contend with, keeping him on a short leash, even if he were minded to engage in Tea Party antics (I don’t think he is). Perhaps the recipe for better government is divided government, though the behavior of the US House of Representatives does throw some cold water on that theory.

#10 Comment By collin On November 3, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

Let us be honest. This is a small and first poll so this is simply a big anti-Vitter poll at this time. I am sure the Party will paint Edwards as Obama’s and HRC Best Friends so this lead will not last.

Fill this under need more data…

#11 Comment By Irenist On November 3, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

Edwards, a pro-life, pro-gun, retired Army Ranger who has served for some time in the Louisiana legislature, is a plausible conservative Democrat.

A pro-life Democrat, you say? May his tribe increase!

#12 Comment By pj On November 4, 2015 @ 12:18 am

Not saying it’s impossible. Obviously Vitter is loathsome and Jindal’s performance has been terrible so it is entirely plausible that you will have a good conservative D governor. But be careful about assuming the polls are right even if they are showing a big margin. They are getting worse and worse with each year that passes especially in off year elections. The polls predicted Ds to win Kentucky by 5 tonight, but they lost by almost 9. Someday someone will come up with an internet based poll that actually gets a representative sample, but it’s pretty clear the phone based ones that all the media outlets rely on are on their last legs due to low response rates.

#13 Comment By Ping Lin On November 4, 2015 @ 10:06 am

In Kentucky last night, Conway was polled to be ahead by 5…and lost by 9 to Bevin.

I have no confidence at all that Vitter will lose unless he is literally down by 20 in the polls.

#14 Comment By JonF On November 5, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

From what I read yesterday, the last minute polling on the KY race did indeed show a surge for Bevin and the race as a toss up with the momentum on his side. (And bad polling is nothing new: “Dewey Defeats Truman” remains the iconic example).

#15 Comment By Winston On November 8, 2015 @ 7:17 pm

Problem with Lousiana is that neither Dems nor GOP provide the leadership they need. Needs fresh thinking. Needs leadership capable of fresh thinking. Needs leaders who encourage capacity building, which is its most dire need since has relied too long on commodities and suffered the commodities curse of low human capital inve4stments.