Is it true that John Bel Edwards has run away to an insurmountable lead over David Vitter, as the UNO poll released Thursday would have it? That poll says the margin is 22 points – Edwards 56, Vitter 34. Is that a true reading of the race, or is the Hayride/MarblePort poll, which has the race at Edwards 48, Vitter 42 and closing, nearer to reality?
I might caution those readers who lean to the former that there is no track record for the UNO poll in this race. It has not polled the race at all other than an experimental online poll the methodology of which wasn’t repeated in this released version. Hayride/MarblePort has polled it monthly since March, and in the poll conducted about a week before the primary it hit the final result nearly spot on – the poll had Edwards at 40, Vitter at 28, Jay Dardenne at 14 and Scott Angelle at 13. Edwards ended up with 40 and Dardenne 15, while Vitter (from 28 to 23) bled five or six points to Angelle (from 13 to 19) in the final week before Election Day. That was easily explainable by events of that last week – a sensational interview from a prostitute who alleged, dubiously as it turns out, that Vitter tried to get her to abort his love child, a humdrum fender-bender as his finance director drove him to a pre-Election Day fundraising event reported by newspapers as a “car wreck involving an unidentified female after which Vitter left the scene,” and the Election Day drama of the Robert Frenzel event.
In such a week it’s entirely plausible for 5-6 percent of the voters to be spooked from voting for Vitter and picking Angelle, who campaigned as a conservative alternative to Vitter, as their second choice. Which would make Hayride/Marbleport more or less on target and the most accurate poll of the race.
Which, as Medium’s Andrew Tuozzolo noted, it more or less was…
Another poll which generated accurate results in the race was Verne Kennedy’s Market Research Insight tracking poll, which as of Wednesday’s results has Edwards leading Vitter 47-41. From a leaked copy of Kennedy’s poll memo following those results…
BASED ON THE COMPARISON OF SURVEY RESULTS MONDAY WITH THOSE TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT APPEARS TO BE TAKING PLACE IN THE GOVERNOR’S RACE. ALTHOUGH THE THREE DAY 800 SAMPLE ABOVE, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY RESULTS LOOK LIKE VOTER OPINION MAY HAVE SHIFTED AFTER MONDAY EVENING. ALTHOUGH RELATIVELY SMALL SAMPLES, VITTER AMONG WHITES WENT FROM ABOUT 47% MONDAY TO 55% WEDNESDAY AND EDWARDS WENT FROM 37% TO 34% VOTE AND BOTH SHOW MAJOR SHIFTS IN FAVORABLE AND UNFAVORABLE OPINIONS.
IF TRACKING TONIGHT AND TOMORROW CONTINUE THAT TREND THE GOVERNOR’S RACE MAY BE MUCH CLOSER. REDISTRIBUTING WHITE UNDECIDED FROM LAST NIGHT VITTER IS AT ABOUT 63% NEEDING 67% TO WIN BUT THE 200 SAMPLE HAS A 7% ERROR FACTOR. THE ONLY THING THAT I KNOW WHICH COULD HAVE IMPACTED THIS IS EITHER THE FORGIVENESS AD VITTER RAN OR THE ATTACK AD EDWARDS RAN OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH. ALTHOUGH EDWARDS WAS PROBABLY UNAWARE OF THE VITTER FORGIVENESS AD, IT IS BAD TO HIT A CANDIDATE ON THE SAME ISSUE HE APPEARS ON HIS KNEES ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS.
BASED ON THE 800 SAMPLE VITTER LEADS BY 4% AMONG WHITE INDEPENDENTS, 60% TO 31% AMONG WHITE EVANGELICALS, REGAINED HIS STRONG LEAD WITH HARD CORE REPUBLICANS AND DOING BETTER AMONG SENIORS.
Believe what you will to be the truth. We will know soon enough.