The Latest Hayride/MarblePort Polling Results Are In – Vitter Still Leads, And Jindal’s Stock Is Still Down

Here’s the poll memo from our partner Ethan Zorfas at MarblePort…

Following the Louisiana legislative session, MarblePort Polling is reviewing public impression of the Legislature’s work on several top issues, primarily the SAVE Act which is seen as a budget gimmick. MarblePort is also the first firm to test the 2016 Presidential race in Louisiana, finding that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would beat Governor Bobby Jindal in the state. Additionally, MarblePort surveyed the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General races in Louisiana. This is MarblePorts third Louisiana survey and intends to be in the field again later this summer. This survey is of 1415 likely Louisiana voters on June 17 with a margin of error of 2.6%.

Jindal for President

Governor Bobby Jindal is expected to announce his candidacy for President next week. MarblePort Polling looked at how Bobby Jindal would do against Hillary Clinton in Louisiana. In a head to head against Clinton, Jindal is losing.

Clinton            44.5%
Jindal              42%
Undecided       13.5%


Race for Governor

The Louisiana Governor’s race remains largely unchanged from our March survey and our May 2015 survey. Retired Lt. General Russel Honore recently said he will decide if he is running for Governor by July 1st so MarblePort tested the Governor’s ballot with Honore and without. A potential Honore entrance appears like it will not affect the race. While Honore takes a few points from each candidate, he lessons the undecided vote. According to this survey, neither Honore, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne nor PSC Commissioner Scott Angelle can catch State Rep. John Bel Edwards, even if one were able to receive all of the undecided votes. Edwards keeps a more than 15 point lead over the next closest candidate and a lock on the second runoff spot.

Angelle, who has been advertising on TV in nearly every Louisiana market, has shown upward growth. He’s now virtually tied with Jay Dardenne.

Governor’s Ballot Without Honore:
Vitter               34.1%
Edwards          28.8%
Angelle           11.1%
Dardenne        10.4%
Undecided       15.6%

Governor’s Ballot With Honore 
Vitter               32.7%
Edwards          26.5%
Angelle           10.1%
Dardenne        9.5%
Honore            7.9%
Undecided       13.3%

With Vitter as the front runner, we also tested head to head contests with each candidate.
Vitter (49.6) vs Edwards (37.5)          Undecided (12.9)
Vitter (51.8) vs Dardenne (32.3)        Undecided (15.9)
Vitter (49.2) vs Angelle (30.7)           Undecided (20.1)
Vitter (54.3) vs Honore (28.5)            Undecided (17.2)


Louisiana Legislature

The recently passed SAVE Act is largely seen as a gimmick. 70.5% thinks this is short term gimmick versus 11.9% who believe this is a long term budget solution. 17.6 % were undecided or had no opinion.

Medical Marijuana is favored by 54.1% and opposed by 30.2% of likely Louisiana voters. 15.8 % are undecided.

Jindal has caused a dangerous political environment for incumbent Republican legislators. Only 42.2% said they will vote for a generic Republican candidate in their State legislative district this fall. 32.9% said they will support a generic Democrat.

The current environment has caused a trend in Louisiana shifting slightly more favorable for Democrats.

Race for Lt. Governor


Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden continues to be the front runner. His Baton Rouge base, and being the sole Democrat will likely secure him in a runoff. The race for the second spot is tight with former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser holding a slight advantage over Jefferson Parish President John Young. State Sen. Elbert Guillory, who recently announced he is running, trails with 5%

Holden            28.5%
Nungesser       19.3%
Young             17.9%
Guillory          5%
Undecided       29.3%


Race for Attorney General


Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy is still considering the AG race. Although Roy has not announced he is running and has little statewide name recognition, being the sole Democrat is to his advantage. He is polling at 23.7%. Jeff Landry trails Roy by 3 and incumbent Buddy Caldwell by 6 points, and is well within striking distance with a large number of undecided voters. This race could go down to the wire as to which two candidates will make the runoff.

Caldwell         26.7%
Roy                 23.7%
Landry             20.8%
Undecided       28.8%

Some analysis from the poll…

On the governor’s race, here’s a comparison of the three results in the governor’s race from MarblePort’s surveys, including the one we collaborated with MarblePort on last month.

marbleport 6-17

You can see that the sizable media campaign Angelle has been pouring onto the airwaves is having some effect. He’s nearly doubled his share of the vote in our survey in about a month, and in doing so he has now passed Dardenne.

You can also see that Dardenne is going to have to get a lot more aggressive with his messaging and be a lot more visible. He’s losing momentum to Angelle and at this point the window is getting narrow.

And for both, the fact that Edwards is holding in the high 20’s is a major barrier to victory. It’s been an issue all along in this campaign, but essentially Vitter can claim about a third of the electorate, whichever Democrat is in the race can claim about a third and the last third is the anti-Vitter Republican vote and the independents and moderates. Right now Angelle and Dardenne are splitting that last third and cancelling each other out. One of the two is going to have to eliminate the other in order to make this a race. Right now that might be more likely Angelle, but as we discussed with John Couvillon on this week’s Red Bayou Show podcast which hit the site yesterday the problem there is burn rate and how long he can sustain his media campaign. At some point he’ll have to come down and at some point someone else will go up.

Russell Honore’ is reportedly going to make an announcement, in or out, about the race early next week. Our polling shows he pulls a little from each of the other four. The effect Honore’ is supposed to have, as a left-of-center black candidate, is to eat into Edwards’ vote. We’ve now run two separate polls which don’t show that at all; if anything Honore’ depresses the effect Angelle and Dardenne can have on the race by diluting the less-partisan vote three ways rather than two. Now, should Honore’ get in the race and unleash a campaign made for MSNBC, that could change his effect on the race and might well put him at odds with Edwards for the hard left vote. And that could provide an opening for Dardenne or Angelle to sneak into the runoff. But outside of his dabbling in goofball environmentalism that hasn’t really been Honore’s persona to date.

So it still looks like a Vitter-Edwards runoff, and Vitter still holds a comfortable edge in that head-to-head matchup.

The fact that Jindal can’t beat Hillary Clinton with Louisiana voters tells you he’s wasting his time announcing for president next week. And the fact that the SAVE Act, Jindal’s final legislative agenda item, is seen as a gimmick by 70 percent of the public can be seen as a repudiation of at least his final year in office.

Interestingly enough, as Kevin Boyd noted here at the Hayride yesterday, SAVE could have been sold as the first instance where Louisiana set up a statutory protection for higher ed funding. But it wasn’t – Jindal’s people never even attempted to message it that way, and so all the public knows about SAVE is Grover Norquist. And as the poll shows, because of that failure or messaging and the mindless rush to pass tax increases, the generic vote for the GOP legislative majority is only 42 percent. That it’s still a 10-point lead over the Democrats shouldn’t make anybody comfortable in the GOP legislative delegation.

The guess here, though we didn’t specifically poll the question (which we might do in the next one), is that Republican challengers to Republican incumbents might poll very well on a generic basis. There is without question a major voter dissatisfaction afoot in the state, and while it has created something of an opportunity for Democrat growth it’s clear that party isn’t up to the challenge. So Republicans who take on incumbents and pin the failure of the legislative session on them – and perhaps Jindal as well – could do very well. Look for some brutal R-vs.-R races in conservative districts this fall.

As for the Lt. Governor and Attorney General races, both seem a bit formless so far. Neither Billy Nungesser nor John Young have managed to get any traction against the other yet, though it seems pretty clear whichever one does make the runoff against Kip Holden is likely to beat him. That could also be true of Buddy Caldwell, though frankly Jeff Landry’s showing in this poll isn’t what it ought to be if he’s going to beat Caldwell. But the down-ballot statewide races always break late, so any real judgements about them shouldn’t be taken very seriously here in June.

We hope to continue releasing polls periodically as the election cycle goes forward.



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