New Senate poll stirs things up
A new poll on the U.S. Senate race has some politicos talking and some candidates grumbling. The poll was conducted between May 19-23 by Southern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) of Baton Rouge.
It surveyed 500 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. SMOR points out that means that the results for each candidate could be 4.4 percentage points above or below the number each received in the poll.
It shows Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy leading an eight-candidate field with 32% and Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany in second place with 10%. Here are the complete results:
Treasurer John Kennedy (R)– 32%, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R) – 10%, PSC Foster Campbell (D) – 9%, U.S. Rep. John Fleming (R) – 5%, Retired AF Colonel Rob Maness (R) – 4%, Attorney Caroline Fayard (D) – 4%, Former state Sen. and ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert (I) – 2%, PSC Eric Skrmetta (R) – 1%, Undecided – 32%.
The poll results brought this comment from Campbell; “The new poll shows early trends towards a runoff between me and John Kennedy.”
But the poll brought a rebuke from Maness, who did not mince words. In a press release, he said he was dismayed by the Kennedy campaign’s blatant dishonesty in touting a recent poll commissioned by their campaign’s biggest donor (Lane Grigsby) as “independent” and is questioning its validity.
Maness went on to say, “These are hardly impressive numbers when you take into account his (Kennedy’s) near universal name ID resulting from his years as a career politician and explain why the Kennedy campaign is so desperate to use a clearly bought and paid for poll to push the false narrative that he is unbeatable.”
Pollster Bernie Pinsonat of SMOR, who conducted the poll, said in an interview with Steve Sabludowsky of Bayoubuzz.com, that the poll should be read with “caution.”
Pinsonat admitted that the poll was distorted based upon which candidate had the most recognition. He noted, “John Kennedy is obviously benefiting from the budget debate in that we have a spending problem or a revenue problem. He is already up on TV.”
SMOR, in releasing the poll, noted that a total of 32% of those surveyed are undecided. Also, certain demographic groups are heavily undecided, which explains why the two Democratic contenders, Campbell and Fayard, are in single digits.
Among Democrats polled, 42% are undecided, among Republicans 21% are undecided, among blacks 52% are undecided, and among whites 25% are undecided.
To be sure, it is still early and the race is not yet in full swing. That is evidenced by the fact that more than 50% of respondents were not familiar with some candidates. They were most familiar with Kennedy, Campbell, Boustany, and Maness, in that order.
Legislators establish caucus
State Reps. Mike Johnson of Bossier and state Rep. Alan Seabaugh of Shreveport have created the North Louisiana Legislative Caucus. The premise is that, in Baton Rouge, strength and elective influence is shown in total number of votes.
State Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport has been chosen to direct the activities of the Caucus. “Since my election to the House of Representatives, I’ve seen other delegations ban together to advocate for their constituents and areas very effectively. These organizations meet throughout the legislative sessions to discuss bills and issues which are common to their members,” Carmody told the Fax-Net.
He noted that the North Louisiana Legislative Caucus is focused upon maintaining economic development as well as the viability of our area’s economic drivers common to our portion of the Bayou State.
“We solicit participation of all members of both chambers, House and Senate, in supporting our priorities unique to our section of the state,” Carmody said. He added, “This group whose members range from various districts covering all of Northern Louisiana parishes is united in working together.”
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.