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Burnett: Edwards leads in polls

Five polls conducted thus far on the runoff race for governor of Louisiana show Democrat John Bel Edwards with the lead over Republican David Vitter.

Four of them show Edwards with a double-digit lead, however, poll taken on November 4 by Triumph Campaigns gives him a nine-point lead over Vitter.

Here are the four polls:lou Burnett

*GUMBO PAC – Conducted from October 26-28 has Edwards leading Vitter, 52 to 40% with 8% undecided.  It is an anti-Vitter PAC.

*Verne Kennedy’s Market Research Insight.– Conducted October 27-28 has Edwards leading 54 to 38% with 8% undecided. The poll was commissioned  by a group of Louisiana businessmen.

*WVLA-TV/JMC Analytics – Conducted from October 28-31 has Edwards leading 52 to 32% with 16% undecided.  The poll was a non-partisan media poll.

*Triumph Campaigns – An automated telephone survey conducted on November 4 has Edwards leading 49 to 41% with 10% undecided.  It is a Republican firm and says its poll was commissioned by a group of  private subscribers.

*UNO Survey Research Center — Conducted November 2-8 among 600 likely voters has Edwards leading Vitter 56-34%.  It is a non-partisan poll.

The most attention is being given to the MRI poll by veteran Louisiana pollster Verne Kennedy.  His gubernatorial primary election polls were the most accurate of all the polls conducted.

Additionally, Kennedy, after decades of polling in Louisiana, is the only one who has a formula for adding in the black vote to the initial results.

Kennedy concludes that if black voter turnout for the runoff is at 25%, Edwards has a 54-38% lead.  If the black turnout drops to 20%, then Edwards’ lead drops to 51-40%.  Black voter turnout in the primary was 35%.

Kennedy, in the analysis of his results, said, “There is  little  doubt  that  Edwards  holds  the  advantage  and  well over a 50% probability of winning the runoff.”

More polls will be forthcoming.  None of these polls was taken after Republican Lt. Gov. Jay  Dardenne, who garnered 15% of the vote in the  primary, endorsed Democrat Edwards.

Dardenne made his endorsement at “Free Speech Alley” in front of the student union on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge.

He said, “When are we as Louisianians going to stop tolerating the embarrassment that too many of our elected officials have heaped upon this state.”

He added, “Honor, integrity, truthfulness, openness, and ethical behavior are the most important traits in public service.  John Bel is the candidate who exemplifies these traits.”

Dardenne’s endorsement created a political explosion heard throughout the state and national Republican Party, both of whom were quick to condemn him in not-so-kind terms.

While Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who finished third with 19%, has not made an endorsement, some of his high-dollar contributors are moving to support Edwards. They sceduled a fundraiser for Edwards, to be held in Lafayette, at $5,000 a pop.

Nevertheless, the Edwards campaign knows this race is not over by a long shot.  Vitter, with millions to spend, has been bombarding the airways with negative ads tying the Democrat to President Barack Obama and playing the race card.

Edwards has responded with a bombshell of an ad of his own, which goes for Vitter’s jugular.  The ad first aired during the LSU-Alabana football game this past Saturday to give it widespread initial exposure.

It says that voters have a choice between him, a former Army Ranger, and Vitter, who solicited a prostitute, pointing out that Vitter missed a vote on the floor of the U.S. House honoring 28 fallen soldiers because he was taking a call from a prostitute.

“David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots,” the ad concludes.  “Now, the choice is yours.”

Indeed, it is.

An Aside: It is understandable, some analysts say, that Angelle will not endorse Edwards even though many of his supporters have gotten behind Edwards.

Angelle, should Vitter be elected governor, wants to run for his U.S. Senate seat.  To do that he will need all the Republican faithful he can muster.  The big question is: If Vitter doesn’t win the governorship, will Angelle challenge Vitter for the Senate seat in 2016?

Other statewide races

The WVLA-TV/JMC Analytics poll was extensive, and it had some other interesting results of note.  Here are some of the results of questions asked.

To the question which candidate would you  support for governor today, the results were, as previously reported, Edwards 52% and Vitter 32%.

But when the 16% who were undecided were asked which candidate they were leaning to, Edwards jumped to 54% while Vitter increased to 35%.  Even after that question, 11% were still undecided.

Lt. Governor’s Race

The result in the race for lieutenant governor had former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, a Republican, leading Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, a Democrat, 50-49% with 21% undecided.

Attorney General’s Race

The result in the race for attorney general had former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, a Republican, leading incumbent Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, also a Republican, 38-34% with 29% undecided.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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