The poll, conducted between January 28-29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%, which means the race could be a dead heat.
But the telephone survey by conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports has some veteran politicos scratching their heads.
The reason is that retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who has picked up every endorsement from conservative and Tea Party groups, was excluded from the poll, while state Rep. Paul Hollis, who recently entered the race, was included.
It begs the question of just how knowledgeable Rasmussen is about the Louisiana Senate race.
A November poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research out of Baton Rouge had Maness with 10% of the vote. Landrieu led the field with 41% and Cassidy had 34%.
Rasmussen did not use that type of question where all candidates were mentioned. If it had, it should have given respondents a choice between Landrieu, Cassidy, Maness, and Hollis. They will all run together in the November 4 primary.
Instead, it asked about head-to-head match-ups between Landrieu and Cassidy, which could be the lineup for the runoff, and between Landrieu and Hollis, where it was tied, 42-42%,
A good question would have been for Republican respondents: Who will you vote for – Cassidy, Maness, or Hollis? It’s a given that Landrieu will be in the runoff, if she doesn’t win outright. Which of the three GOP candidates will make the runoff with her is an interesting question.
The Rasmussen poll comes on the heels of a heavy negative television ad campaign against Landrieu by Americans for Prosperity. Her story has yet to be told, and the Senate Majority PAC is beginning to air pro-Landrieu ads.
The poll may be much ado about nothing at this stage of the game, but it seems to indicate that Landrieu is in store for another nail-biter of a race when many of the 42% of respondents say they will vote for someone they have never heard of – Hollis.
Other Rasmussen poll results
Here are some other findings of the Rasmussen poll of 500 Louisiana residents:
*50% currently approve of President Obama’s job performance, giving him a better job approval rating than he earns nationally. Of the 48% who disapprove, 42% strongly disapprove.
*Only 43% approve of the job Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing. Of the 54% who disapprove of his job performance, 33% strongly disapprove.
*40% of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, while 55% view it unfavorably.
*25% haven’t heard of Cassidy and 40% haven't heard of Hollis.
With the U.S. Senate race on tap for this fall, let’s take a look at the current voter registration statistics for the state of Louisiana.
There are 2,917,833 registered voters in the state. Of that total, 64% are white, 31% are black, and 5% are other races.
By party affiliation, 47% are Democrats, 28% are Republicans, and 25% are Other Parties.
Of the Democrats, 45% are white, 52% are black, and 3% are other races.
Of the Republicans, 93% are white, 3% are black, and 4% are other races.
Of the Other Parties, 69% are white, 23% are black, and 8% are other races.
Note: Other Parties includes so-called Independents, which is no longer recognized as a political designation in Louisiana.
Interestingly, there are more registered black voters in the state now than pre-Katrina, which occurred in 2005.
For the 2002 U.S. Senate race (pre-Katrina), which Democrat Mary Landrieu won with 52% of the vote, 29% of the registered voters were black.
In 2008, when Landrieu won in the primary with 52% of the vote, 31% of the registered voters were black.
Today, as noted above, 31% of registered voters are black.
So the premise held by some GOP politicos that Katrina diluted Landrieu’s black support, doesn’t seem to hold water.
Apparently the Landrieu name is still magic in the Big Easy. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu won a landslide victory over two black opponents Saturday, garnering 64% of the vote.
Some political analysts thought Landrieu might be in for a rough re-election battle when former Judge Michael Bagneris from a well-known African-American family in the city entered the race.
But his challenge never gained any traction. He wound up with 33% of the vote. Another black candidate, Danatus King, president of the New Orleans chapter of the NAACP, got 3%.
Analysts surmise that Landrieu was helped by two factors. 1. Former African-American Mayor Ray Nagin’s trial was in the news, reminding voters of the mess Landrieu inherited.
2. The unprecedented winter storm that hit New Orleans showed Landrieu in command of the situation, getting high marks for the way he handled it.
His victory is obviously good news for his sister, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth six-year term this fall against three GOP opponents.
It was thought that if Mitch lost, it would spell doom for Mary’s campaign as well. No such luck for the Republican Party, even as it helped Bagneris to some extent in his campaign.
Now, the talk begins about whether Mitch will run for governor in 2015. He has been running neck-and-neck in some polls with Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who has announced he is running, and with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, also a Republican, who is in the race, as well.
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