Hickman Analytics is a Democrat polling organization which has been surveying the swing-state Senate races around the country, and it conducted a poll on the Louisiana Senate race from Feb. 17-24.
What that survey found has to be extremely scary for Mary Landrieu’s camp. If Hickman Analytics’ numbers are valid, she’s all but cooked.
The top line: Bill Cassidy 46, Landrieu 42 among “likely” voters, and – get this – Cassidy by 49-40 among “definite” voters.
What’s worse: Landrieu is upside-down 42-52 on approval.
What’s even worse than that: Landrieu is underwater 36-47 on her re-elect number with “likely” voters, and 35-48 on “definite” voters.
Other interesting numbers: the poll found overwhelming support for fracking (57-15) and the Keystone XL pipeline (67-12), and by a 45-23 margin the respondents said that if President Obama declines to give a permit to the pipeline it would make them less likely to vote for Landrieu.
And as we said, this is from a Democrat firm. The sample for the poll is 47 percent Democrat by registration and 28 percent Republican, which is about what the state’s current registration numbers look like – and by affiliation it’s actually more Democrat than voting patterns indicate: 35 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican.
And yet they still came up with these numbers.
What to make from this? First, there is no question the Americans For Prosperity campaign hammering Landrieu over Obamacare is having a continuous, and devastating, effect on her reputation within the state – and Landrieu so far has not found a defense against it.
Second, it appears Cassidy is slowly, steadily gaining momentum. Landrieu’s performance in this poll – between 40 and 42 percent – is about where she’s been since late last year; she has more or less the Democrats’ base vote locked up and probably won’t go much below the low 40’s. But the difference is that Cassidy is now inching into the high 40’s even in a survey that has more Democrats by affiliation than Republicans.
That’s a validation of Cassidy’s campaign as being very conservative (stylistically) in its messaging, taking shots only when it’s safe to do so, and generally playing it safe. That style has led many to complain that Cassidy doesn’t excite the conservative base in the state (the Hickman poll found that the state is profoundly red: 36 percent of respondents called themselves strong conservatives, 21 percent said somewhat conservative, 16 percent said they were moderate, five percent said somewhat liberal and 12 percent said strong liberal).
You could say that if Cassidy is somewhere between 46 and 49 percent and 57 percent of the state’s voters call themselves conservatives of one stripe or another the way for Cassidy to lock this thing up is still to move to the right, and you could well be correct in that analysis.
But either way, Landrieu has a major problem. This poll shows, like others have, that it’s extremely difficult to get her above 50 percent with Louisiana’s current political reality. Unless something major changes in this race, she can’t win.