"Since the November 21st runoff election for Governor, gallons of ink have been spilled attempting to explain the election’s “surprising” result (one good example here). Louisianians elected John Bel Edwards, a previously little-known State House Democrat, over heavily-favored Republican Senator David Vitter. A political earthquake, right? But what if I told you that this wasn’t really much of a surprise at all? For those of you who poured over the polling numbers from as far back as Labor Day, the election’s result shouldn’t have been a shock at all. In fact, it was really a fait accompli. Why? From September 23rd to November 21st, John Bel Edwards never trailed David Vitter in any publicly-released polling. Perhaps you were swept up in the drama of the inconceivable. During the early days of the campaign, the pundits told us David Vitter probably couldn’t lose. In fact, some said he was focusing his campaign on leveraging his “inevitability.” But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box. Vitter did lose and he lost big. Yes, this would have been surprising result to many even through the summer of 2015. But since the campaign began in earnest around Labor Day, the outcome that perhaps should have been the labeled “inevitable” was in fact Vitter’s defeat. Why? That old killjoy: polling data."
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