The YouGov Poll In Louisiana Has Startlingly Bad Numbers For Landrieu

On the heels of the Rasmussen poll last week which had Mary Landrieu at only 41 percent, the latest public poll in the U.S. Senate race confirms the incumbent is in a great deal of trouble.

The numbers

So counting leaners, that’s a 38-36 Cassidy advantage with 11 percent undecided.

This is yet another poll which confirms that Maness can’t make the runoff, though it does show his support moving into double figures – but nowhere near the 15 percent that sketchy Senate Conservatives Fund poll claimed. And this is another poll which confirms that were it not for Maness, Cassidy could well win this thing in November.

Figure Cassidy gets a little over¬†50¬†percent of the “not sures,” and he runs about 44 percent – with Landrieu probably topping out around 38 percent counting the 20 percent of undecideds a lot of political pros will tell you an incumbent will generally get. That means Maness, not Landrieu, is who’s in Cassidy’s way for a November win. If we gave Maness the remainder of the “not sures” and we ignore the assumption he’ll fade late like most third-party candidates do (quite often a third-party candidate who doesn’t look like he’s going to win will see his support bleed off as many of his voters decide they don’t want to waste their votes), he’d be at 13 percent. Under such a scenario, Cassidy’s strategy might start to change – he now has to decide between whether to continue ignoring/playing nice with Maness in order not to offend Maness’ voters in the expectation the vast majority of them will turn out for him in the runoff, or turning his guns on Maness late in an effort to peel those voters off and corral them in order to get to 50 percent plus one in November.

If you’re Cassidy you’d like to wrap it up in November and save yourself five weeks of hellish campaigning, particularly if the Democrats decide to dump all their remanining money and activists into trying to destroy you in advance of the runoff. Many of the state’s other political folks are more than happy to have those five weeks, though, as there’s a lot of money to be made in that time. But if you’re Cassidy you’ve also got to consider that going too strong after Maness prior to Election Day in November might drive away Maness’ voters, most of whom are disaffected conservatives who have bought into the idea you’re not really one of them and have responded favorably to Maness’ contention that you’re as much a part of the problem as Landrieu is, when it’s just you and Landrieu in December. What’s more, Maness’ campaign message has – though it’s often gotten lost in all the Cassidy-bashing – included the concept that firing Mary Landrieu is the most important thing. That more or less commits Maness to endorsing Cassidy should he finish out of the runoff in November. Does a full-on attack on Maness kibosh that endorsement?

And Landrieu’s ceiling continues to descend based on these numbers. At 33, or 36 with leaners added, she’s a long way to the low 40’s the Rasmussen poll indicated. At this point she’s going to struggle to get to that number – which means she’d get blown out in December.

Does that raise the possibility, if the Democrats were to lose the Senate in November as the current projections say, that Landrieu would withdraw if all she could pull was 36-38 percent in the primary?

Nobody has raised it yet. But if this thing is, say, 44 for Cassidy, 38 for Landrieu and 13 for Maness, with the remaining seven percent scattered among the six other minor candidates, it’s pretty clear she can’t win. One thing we’re told by pollsters who have done private surveys of this race is Cassidy gets 90 percent of Maness’ voters in a head-to-head with Landrieu (which perhaps answers our earlier question about whether a risk-reward analysis for Cassidy favors going after Maness). That would mean Landrieu would be facing annihilation in December. Would it be worth it to continue?

Obviously, today isn’t election day, and because it isn’t these numbers are speculative no matter how accurate they are. That said, Landrieu unloaded a staggering amount of advertising on that attack spot against Cassidy in August, and she’s still taking a beating in the polls thanks to the Air Mary stuff and more lately the residency issue. There is no way to tell what her financial numbers look like today after that last month, but she’s clearly spending more than Cassidy is over the last 30-40 days and Cassidy was sitting with $200,000 more in the bank than she was. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that it’s decidedly unlikely Landrieu’s situation is going to get a whole lot better than it is right now – and if the primary was tomorrow, Maness is the only thing keeping Landrieu from having to clear out that Senate office. Even that would only prolong the inevitable.

Mary is in a lot of trouble. She’s going to need something unforeseen and very significant to come along and alter the dynamics of this race, or else her third term in the Senate will be her last.

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