The Cassidy-Landrieu Poll

What’s interesting about the Harper Polling survey put out yesterday which shows Mary Landrieu with a wafer-thin lead over Bill Cassidy is that nobody seems to know who commissioned it.

Harper Polling is an outfit headed by Brock McCleary, the former polling director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s a Republican firm, so its numbers are usually going to look pretty favorable for Republicans.

But it’s not a poll by Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign. Cassidy is using somebody else for polling this cycle.

And while the news about the poll went out largely as a result of a release by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, it wasn’t commissioned by the NRSC.

It could well be that the poll wasn’t commissioned by anybody and that Harper decided to generate a little publicity for themselves by running a poll on the race.

If so, they were somewhat successful. Neither the Advocate nor the Picayune bothered to do an article on the poll, but it did get some attention elsewhere.

Harper’s survey was a fairly quick hit, with only a few important findings…

  • Landrieu’s favorability is plus-6, 48-42.
  • Cassidy’s favorability is plus-4, 24-20. He’s got a 56 percent “don’t know,” which means he’s a blank slate with Louisiana’s voters.
  • Chas Roemer, who was put forth as a second GOP candidate in the race, has a favorability of minus-13, 12-25, with a 64 percent “don’t know.”
  • Cassidy beats Roemer 38-14 in a Republican primary, which of course unless state law changes you wouldn’t have.
  • Landrieu beats Cassidy 46-41 in a head-to-head race. An incumbent at 46 percent is an incumbent who’s tremendously vulnerable.
  • A generic ballot shows a Republican beating a Democrat 46-40, meaning that if Cassidy can define himself as a garden-variety Republican and emphasize Landrieu’s fairly generic Democrat voting record (97 percent votes with Obama, for example), he’d be up 46-40.
  • Landrieu beats Roemer 46-33.
  • Landrieu’s job approval is plus-5, but it’s 44-39. 44 is low for a three-term incumbent.
  • 38 percent say Landrieu is moderate, 36 percent say she’s liberal, 12 percent say she’s conservative and 14 percent aren’t sure. Beating her means taking a bunch of that 38 percent (and the 14 percent) and dumping them into the 36 percent.
  • 62 percent say Landrieu votes the party line, while only 9 percent say she’s a maverick.
  • 60 percent oppose gay marriage.
  • 56 percent oppose Obamacare.
  • By 58-25, respondents say Louisiana is on the wrong track.
  • The sample is 48 D-37 R, but it also identifies as 50 percent conservative, 34 moderate and 10 percent liberal.

In other words, based on this sample beating Landrieu is a fairly simple proposition (which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy). Define her as too far left for Louisiana and not sharing the values and philosophy of the state’s voters, and prove it, and she’s toast.

Cassidy is a pretty good opponent in that vein, because he’s not seen as too far to the right. Landrieu can’t paint him as a wingnut in retaliation for being hit with the “she’s too liberal” attack.

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