Bernie Pinsonat scorches Governor's race poll spin, Vitter's opponents, media
Written by  // Thursday, 01 October 2015 12:28 //

Bernie-burnsLouisiana’s pollster, Bernie Pinsonat rarely minces any words.  Which is why we have coined is opinion columns and our interviews with him —“Bernie Burns”.

Today’s interview is no exception. Actually, it’s not just a "burner". It’s a scorcher.

The issue? The governor’s race and a recent poll by The Advocate and WWL TV which claims that John Bel Edwards and David Vitter are tied, but, the other two major candidates Lieut. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, (along with Edwards) can beat Vitter in a runoff.


               Join Lawrence Chehardy and others tonight  Oct. 1 at 8PM as we talk online via Live video---a BLAB about the gubernatorial debate...Starts at 8pm, an hour after end of debate. You need a twitter account, but come join us and a bunch of others too. 

On Tuesday I interviewed the pollster of the Advocate and WWL TV survey, Ron Faucheux of Clarus Research Group.

Pinsonat has a different opinion (not necessarily with the poll numbers and the results) but with some in the media and commentaries who are interpreting the poll, looking into their respective crystal balls of the upcoming Louisiana governor’s election.

Here is the interview, with part two tomorrow:

SABLUDOWSKY: Do you have any feelings in terms of the governor's race, after the new poll from Channel 4 and the Advocate--I assume that you have read that poll and there have been other polls out there, but I think that this poll and your poll (that was done in the spring) are the two only independent polls--but that's my take.  But do you have a feeling in terms of how things are going?

PINSONAT: Well when I did my survey, Vitter was doing very well because he had just done a very smart thing he has said, "Common Core seems okay with me, I'm going to be okay with it".  Actually survey I was doing, and walking down the street talking to his people, he ran into a firestorm, any change and when he did it, he got an enormous amount of publicity and I said at the time that his poll numbers jumped him up to 38 but that was basis because Common Core so unpopular in Louisiana, that he gave him a boost. At the time, the two top contenders were David Vitter and John Bel Edwards.

This new survey has them 23 points (The Faucheux survey has Vitter and Jon Bel Edwards tied at 24), I guess, each and Angelle and Dardenne are sort of killing each other off, there in the middle of the road, we call it roadkill. I thought the horse race, half of the poll was where we are today, which means nothing is changed.  It doesn't matter what the numbers are, and matters who’s one and two. And that's who gets in to the runoff. They went a little further with questions I thought were a little silly and I noticed today, I did a TV interview and a radio interview yesterday and my comments I think reflect reality, I don't know what those questions were about. 

I just pointed out that they made a big point that he's very popular, he's trustworthy that he voted, voters love him--and their speaking of John Bel Edwards, and it is like what? Did this pollster miss what happened in Louisiana during the runoff and the national Republicans they think this is a big race in the pouring here with millions of dollars--they'll point out he was an Obama delegate, he's a trial lawyer, he's a Democrat, supporting liberal--those of the phrases though just be the conduit and his negatives will increase dramatically overnight and the other thing is...

SABLUDOWSKY: Let me interrupt for second, would you’re pointing out is obviously what is going to be pointed out, however, so far, none of that has been pointed out.. So the people are going to think of him right now, based upon what is out there.

PINSONAT: Well I just sent you a story of the national Democrats which I already knew, they not investing in Louisiana, they don't think this is state they can win.  This is a super red state. There aren't any plans to, they’re negative on the outlook of a Democrat winning the governor's race in Louisiana. So, my point is, you can run all those type polls that you want, a point is, is meaningless, why would you want to bother with it because no one has pointed out that he is a Democrat with all of the baggage that goes along with it. Look Mary Landrieu was not exactly a lightweight, and he's a lightweight compared to Mary Landrieu, he still not that well known. There's a lot of people, I wasn't one of them, thought that she would be very tough to beat and that this would be a close election and that the Landrieu name was gold, and she can raise a fortune, and she's done so much for Louisiana--and that was literally wiped away by the Koch brothers with about two or $3 million--that hasn't been done to John Bel Edwards, it's going to be done to him, so to insinuate that he's in the runoff, he's likely to beat Vitter is garbage to me. I mean why? That is not reality, any pollster that doesn't mention that, his image today is what it is but three weeks now, starting tonight, if David Vitter started running ads, I bet you his (Edwards) negatives would climb 25-30%, in a nano-second


PINSONAT: Democrats in Louisiana aren't any threat to Republicans. I guess the backdrop here is all these negative ads, Vitter is damaged and John Bel Edwards could beat him--but that may be true, but I don't think that people who were paying attention, and, who poll all the time, think that's true, he has a chance, but certainly not…

SABLUDOWSKY: is not conventional wisdom

He's going to be the underdog against Vitter, he may beat Vitter but is not going to be because he's likely to win, he may pull it off, I don't know, I can't say. But I would not bet against David Vitter, with all the Republican money coming in nationally, the attacks that will be ad nausea and without the Democratic Party what can you raise? $500,000 and they're going to have seven to $10 million?

SABLUDOWSKY: Right right. So the money he currently has is not can be the money that he will have, far from, based upon what your saying.

PINSONAT: Not to mention that, I do this for a living. 85% of all small business in Louisiana don't even give to Democrats anymore-I wish they did because I still do Democrats, and they have a very difficult time raising money and if you're not paying attention, we’re probably going to into  a legislature when it convenes, probably in a special session, if we have a special session, will only have a handful of white democrats left. And I've spoken out, I'm not a fan of the one-party state and the Democrats need to do something different. But they don't seem to be concerned about it and they keep getting their brains beat out but nothing has changed so.  Edwards is running in an atmosphere, what, this is third, fourth, second, what-- first red state of the 50 and those are numbers I cannot ignore as a pollster

SABLUDOWSKY: You and I are in agreement, I basically have, and I've written already that I think the polls that have already come, out that shows Edwards either equal to or able to beat Vitter are not realistic because the same reason that you said--the money and second the attacks against Edwards haven't come yet, so, my question is this--is anybody going to be attacking Edwards-- obviously Vitter is not going to attack them if he feels that he's going to be in a runoff because he wants to go against Edwards. Jay Dardenne and Angelle, they're in the 50s or so roughly in terms of people knowing about them.

PINSONAT: Here’s how you remedy the situation-- and I also run campaigns, it's not impossible, and by the way the poll that the station it was like a snap shot in time, but the snap shot in time the way they projected it, it was an anti-Vitter poll the way they wrote it up. It was like this guy is in trouble, he's got no shot and all of the other stuff like in the runoff.  It's like what are you talking about, what state you polling in? You cannot ignore that Louisiana is one of the red states and here's what you do if you’re Vitter or Dardenne. They need to take some of his votes away


PINSONAT: And with the damage if you look at Vitter any say, he's lost the whites, certainly he's lost whites as he's being attacked but he's got enough right now to get in the runoff. So if you’re Dardenne or Angelle and they're going to do it at some point in time, they can do mass mailings to white Democrats, saying your guy can't win, we’re the perfect solution.

But-- the problem is that you got two of them.  The trick for them is they're blocking each other and they need more white votes so if you mail to white Democrats and you tell them I'm your guy, your guys not going to win. Ship over to me, I can beat Vitter in a runoff. I'm the guy who can win this election, so. Some of the story that you all are writing, that the media is writing about--the strength of Edwards, which is totally a joke, is not helping, is absolutely not helping

SABLUDOWSKY: Jay Dardenne and Angelle?

PINSONAT: Yeah. So that poll was designed to hurt Vitter, the way it was written, it's done more damage to Angelle and Scott then it's done to them (Vitter) because of false hope of white Democrats that Edwards is a lock is far from reality and if your Angelle or Scott, you had to get those white Democrats and get more in the middle and you become a player. It is a very simple formula--they've got to get more white votes, they're not going to get his blacks, they’re part of John Bel's. He's got enough voters.  There are the ones that are undecided, those who you can't pull those voters to you (if Dardenne and Angelle keep their same strategies) and have enough in the middle to make the runoff. It's not complicated.  So why would they do that and I think you'll see them do it, that's what you going to see before the end of this race. These guys are going to make a big effort to get those whites out there that may not, who don't know John Bel Edwards, why wouldn't they sent out a mailer, it telling them who he is and I'm not the Obama candidate, I'm someone who can be a moderate, I'm going to be a good governor, what else can they do, it is possible. John Bel's strength is not really there, so why, when they go after him? So I think you'll see that

SABLUDOWSKY: yeah, yeah.  Well the trick bag is--I see if you’re doing that as you trying to define yourself statewide to half the population who don't know you then what happens is, you're being negative, your bashing, your being negative towards somebody and as you know sometimes negative ads are going to hurt the person who is throwing out the negative ads. So how do you overcome that obstacle at the same time at the same time laying down John Bel Edwards?

PINSONAT: When you go after the white voters and if there is, this going to be a decent spread between white’s and black's, there’s no Obama running, there’s no Landrieu running, there's no Edwin Edwards running, there's no Clinton. Blacks, whether you admit it or not, they’ve seen their candidates get drubbed election after election. And now here is a candidate they don't even know and he can convince them but he still not a big name Democrat, so what with the turnout be? The turnout differential between whites and Blacks will affect him, if it is under eight or 9% which is his voters black, than his numbers drop, if Angelle or Dardenne take white democrats away and both of them or obviously capable of doing that, then you have a real tight finish.

If you’re polling for these guys you want them to quit messing with Vitter. You've got to get votes. Vitter's votes may not leave him. So why waste your money? So there's enough voters out there between the undecideds and some of the white Democrats who may come back home to a Republican, so it's just imperative that they quit worrying about Vitter and go after some voters. One or the other has to take voters from somebody to make it.



Thursday, 01 October 2015 10:31

party-politicsWould a candidate (Scott Angelle) who served for both Democrat Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Republican Bobby Jindal be hurt by that service?  How bad does a presumed relationship to prostitute hurt a candidate (David Vitter), if at all?  Would voting for taxes in the past hurt the candidate in this election (Dardenne)?  How much of a factor is Vitter's enormous money advantage over the other candidates?  How will the Super PAC affect the election?  What appear's to be Vitter’s campaign strategy? 


Wednesday, 30 September 2015 14:58

FAUCHEUX-PICCan either Republicans Jay Dardenne or Scott Angelle overtake Democrat John Bel Edwards for a runoff position against current leader US Sen. David Vitter? Can Edwards, when against a Republican given the recent election history of the state?

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