Wednesday, 08 May 2019 08:05

Poll: Louisiana Governor Edwards in challenging election vs. Abraham, Rispone

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if you think that the Louisiana Governor's race will be a virtual cake-walk in favor of the incumbent John Bel Edwards, think again. At least, according to a recent poll by John Couvillon of JMC Polling and Analytics, the governor's race is far from over.

With roughly six months left until elections day, Edwards leads his two competitors Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone by large margins, however, about one-third of the voters are undecided. Rispone is self-financing much of his campaign and claims he can match the Edwards campaign money needed to win. Edwards leads with 38% of the vote, followed by  Abraham's 23% and Rispone trailing with only 7%. A whopping 32% are undecided.


Couvillon claims that if the undecided vote were factored in based upon likely inclinations, Edwards  has a slight lead. According to Couvillon, "If undecideds among blacks and Republicans are properly allocated, Governor Edwards has a 45-42% lead over Republican candidates."

The poll also shows the Edwards support fixed at 40 to 41 percent. In a head to head fight, Edwards beats Abrham 40% to 36% with 24% undecided. A head to head Edwards Rispone (who is a virtual unknown) shows the current Governor ahead by 41-28% with 31% undecided.

 According to Couvillon in poll intro, "For this poll, a sample of likely households was chosen from the population registered to vote in the state of Louisiana for a “hybrid” automated (for landlines)/live (for cell phones) poll, where 72% of the phone numbers were landlines and 28% of the phone numbers were cell phones. There were 650 completed responses to seven poll questions.

Below is Couvillon's poll narrative summary: 

Louisiana is a Southern state that remained faithful to the Democratic Party longer than any other state in the region except possibly Arkansas. However, there has been an unmistakable and steady movement over the last decade to the Republicans, to the point that now there are Republican majorities nearly across the board (in other words, Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature, nearly all statewide offices are held by Republicans, the Supreme Court, Public Service Commission, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education). Even in the 2018 Democratic landslide, Louisiana remained staunchly Republican: the partisan vote in Congressional races (all six districts were contested) was 57-38% Republican.

There is a notable exception to the increasing Republican dominance: Democrats recaptured the Governorship in 2015 due to a combination of two things: (1) Republican infighting in the primary prevented any kind of coalescing of the Republican vote in the runoff, and (2) a well run campaign from Democrat John Bel Edwards that proactively inoculated itself against attempts to portray him as a liberal by noting his conservative stances on abortion and gun rights, and by emphasizing his military background.

Now that Governor Edwards is running for re-election against two currently announced Republican candidates (Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone), will partisan voting patterns reassert themselves and doom his re-election, or does he still have some affirmative strength despite going through numerous legislative special sessions to get a budget passed ?

JMC was engaged to poll this race, and these are the takeaways from the poll (which can be found here):

  1. President Trump remains popular in Louisiana, although there has been some erosion in his support;
  2. Governor Edwards faces a challenging reelection, and that campaign is likely to go to runoff;
  3. Governor Edwards has a relatively static base of support regardless of the ballot configuration;
  4. If undecideds among blacks and Republicans are properly allocated, Governor Edwards has a 45-42% lead over Republican candidates.
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