The Mother Of All Push-Polls

A week after a poll by Bernie Pinsonat of Southern Media & Opinion Research indicated that quirky Republican Senate darkhorse Chet Traylor commanded less than 4 percent of the vote in his effort to unseat Sen. David Vitter, word comes that Traylor’s campaign believes they’re 30 points further along.

This despite raising just $42,000 since entering the race in July – which would support Traylor’s camp in their statement that allegations he’s a stalking horse for Democrat challenger Charlie Melancon are “ridiculous.” Given those numbers, Traylor would be more like a stalking donkey, or maybe a stalking zebra. Or a stalking slug.

But the poll Traylor is hanging his hat on – despite having been conducted by the respectable Verne Kennedy – is less an attempt to gauge where the public is than to drum up business.

In a trial heat for the Aug. 28 Republican primary, Vitter polled 46 percent to Traylor’s 34 percent, according to Kennedy’s poll. Some 21 percent of the respondents were undecided.

That polling data surfaced after respondents were informed about Vitter’s connection to a Washington, D.C., call girl service. That data surfaced as well after respondents were reminded that Vitter employed an aide for roughly two years after the aide was arrested for violently abusing his girlfriend. The aide in question, Brent Furer, was in charge of women’s issues for Vitter’s office.

When asked if Vitter’s employment of an aide who had been charged with domestic violence would affect their vote, some 19 percent of the respondents said they definitely would not vote for Vitter. Some 32 percent said they probably would not vote for him while 28 percent of the respondents said the issue would not affect how they would vote. Twelve percent of the respondents said they probably would vote for Vitter in spite of the domestic violence issue while 9 percent said they definitely would vote for him.

When respondents were informed that Vitter was a former customer of a “Washington Madame,” some 15 percent said they definitely would not vote for him. Twenty-six percent of the respondents said they probably would not vote for Vitter, and 30 percent said the issue would not affect their vote. Twenty percent of the respondents said they probably would vote for Vitter in spite of his relationship with a “Washington Madame” while 9 percent said they definitely would vote for him.

Vitter’s reported connections to “New Orleans prostitutes” yielded roughly the same responses in Kennedy’s poll.

When asked if Vitter’s relationship with “New Orleans prostitutes” had any bearing on the election, some 14 percent of the respondents said they definitely would not vote him. Some 23 percent of the respondents said they probably would not vote for Vitter while 34 percent said the issue would not affect how they would vote. Nineteen percent of the respondents said they probably would vote for Vitter in spite of the “prostitutes” issue while 10 percent of the respondents said they definitely would vote for him.

Kennedy’s poll showed that 14 percent of the respondents definitely would not vote for Vitter because his re-election “would send the wrong message” about Louisiana to the rest of the nation. Nineteen percent of the respondents said they probably would not vote for Vitter because his election “would send the wrong message” while 31 percent said the concern would not affect how they would vote. Some 22 percent of the respondents said they probably would vote for Vitter in spite of the “message” his re-election would send to others while 15 percent said they definitely would vote for Vitter regardless of the “message” concern.

Kennedy’s poll also touched on Traylor’s background.

When respondents were informed that Traylor worked “his way up the justice system,” some 19 percent said they definitely would vote for Traylor while 45 percent said they probably would vote for him. Twenty-four percent of the respondents said Traylor’s background in the justice system would not sway their vote one way or another. Eight percent of the respondents said they probably would not vote for Traylor in light of his “justice system” background while 5 percent said they definitely would not vote for him.

Besides having served on the state Supreme Court for about 12 years, Traylor is a former Louisiana State Police officer, criminal prosecutor and district court judge. He also was a military police officer in the U.S. Army.

When respondents were informed that Traylor was “strongly opposed by personal injury attorneys, liberal Democrats and labor unions,” 24 percent said they definitely would vote for him. Some 38 percent of the respondents said they probably would vote for Traylor while 20 percent said the interest groups opposed to Traylor would not affect how they would vote. Some 26 percent of the respondents said they probably would not vote for Traylor in light of the interest groups opposed to him while 15 percent said they definitely would not vote for him.

Apparently there was no discussion of Traylor’s having broken up two marriages with adulterous behavior, or his chummy relationships with the personal injury attorneys and liberal Democrats who supposedly strongly oppose him.

And yet Vitter still leads the underfunded Traylor by 14 in a poll which essentially notifies respondents that he’s the devil before asking them if they support the devil.

It’s a bit late for push-polls two weeks before a primary, isn’t it?

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