A WWL TV, The Advocate, and Ron Faucheaux Claris Research poll, just released, indicates that in the open primary, if held today, Vitter would be tied with Jon Bell Edwards at 24% with both Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle trailing by roughly 10 points.
Perhaps worse, if the runoff election were held today, all three candidates would beat him in a runoff.
Unlike the last independent poll by Bernie Pinsonat and SMOR, back in spring 2015, this survey was taken after qualifying, after all candidates have launched their television and radio commercials, after other polls have thrown out pretty absurd numbers, after the most recent Louisiana legislative session, after numerous forums including one on statewide television which David Vitter did not attend.
The poll has come out at a time when the voters have begun to focus.
No doubt, Vitter would love to be 10 or 20 points ahead as he has been perceived to be the incumbent but as of right now that is not so. Nor is he 12 points behind as a recent democratic-leaning poll, PPP declared last week.
Unquestionably, the Clarus survey will be analyzed by many in the upcoming days (including by this websites). Clancy Dubos of The Gambit has already made some interesting observations.
In his blog today--which compares this poll to that of the last one by Bernie Pinsonat, Clancy points out that Vitter has lost the “soft” supporters. Thus, at 24%, it appeared that his “hard core” base is at 25%, which is less than the roughly 40 percent supporting Mary Landrieu going into the primary one month out.
The surer win would be if one of the two Republicans were to be in the runoff with Vitter. At this point in time, Democrat Jon Bel Edwards would have a slight lead against Vitter--but he has not been hit with negative television and radio ads as of yet, has not been linked to Obama, the Landrieu’s or anybody as of yet. So far he has had a free ride since Vitter wants him in the runoff and since the other republicans want to beat Vitter, so they can take on the Democrat.
This does not mean that Vitter, were he get into the runoff with Edwards, would have an easy time, even with his millions of dollars from his campaign and super PAC. However this is Louisiana post-Katrina. Democrats do not win statewide elections.
While Vitter needs to reassess his position going into this election, no matter who runs against him in the runoff, assuming he is fortunate to be one of the candidates, he will have two major pluses in this election--cash and the conservative voter dominance.
Despite the two recent polls, (and other polls showing him with a 50-52 percent negative), “money cannot buy” Vitter cash and conservative dominance.
Vitter needs not get out of his catbird seat, but he does need to be watch out for the woodpeckers flying around the neighborhood.
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