New Louisiana Poll Shows Tiny Landrieu Advantage

Posted July 1, 2008 at 10:58am

After state Treasurer John Kennedy (R) entered the Louisiana Senate race late last year, early polling showed the race to be in a statistical dead heat.

Seven months later, a new poll from a nonpartisan Louisiana-based polling firm found that not a whole lot has changed.

The new Southern Media & Opinion Research survey found second-term Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) up a little more than 5 points in a poll that had a 4-point margin of error.

The survey, which was in the field June 26-28 was a wide-ranging poll on a variety of state and national political issues. Of the 600 likely voters interviewed, 45.8 percent said they would choose Landrieu in the Senate race while 40.3 percent said they would vote for Kennedy.

The survey also found that 61 percent of voters had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of both Landrieu and Kennedy. Meanwhile, 34 percent of voters had a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of Landrieu compared with just 10.5 percent of voters who had a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of Kennedy. Kennedy was unfamiliar to 28.5 percent of voters compared with the just 5 percent of voters who were unfamiliar with Landrieu.

Landrieu, who barely cleared 50 percent in her two previous Senate races, is considered the lone vulnerable Democrat in a Senate cycle where Republicans will be mostly on the defensive. As such, the race has been a focus of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and has become one of the most-watched battles of the cycle.

Kennedy, who switched parties in 2007, was unopposed last year in his bid for a third term as state treasurer. When Kennedy entered the race, Republicans were hopeful that the resounding gubernatorial victory last fall of former Rep. Bobby Jindal (R) would continue to help Kennedy’s campaign this year.

Jindal, who has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick on the Republican side, came under intense public pressure last week when he refused to veto a pay raise bill for state lawmakers. The Southern Media & Opinion Research survey found that 80.3 percent thought Jindal should veto the legislation. Meanwhile, 46.5 percent of those surveyed had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Jindal while 50.6 percent had a somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of him.

However, Jindal ended up vetoing the pay raise bill Monday, and Kennedy was quick to release a statement applauding Jindal’s decision.