These are internal poll numbers rather than independent ones, so when you hear the Charles Boustany and John Kennedy camps poo-poo the numbers Fleming is announcing you’ll understand why.
But according to a release Fleming’s camp put out this morning, he’s inching up and now he’s the leading Republican hopeful in the race.
Since the Fleming Campaign’s last State of the Race Memorandum dated September 28th, the trajectory of the race has remained constant and several variables became more certain.
In the September 28th State of the Race Memorandum, the Fleming Campaign highlighted its most recent internal poll, conducted by JMC Analytics, to highlight the current state of play in the race. At the end of last week, the Fleming Campaign commissioned another JMC Analytics poll to test the progress of the race, with the results noted below and comparisons to prior polling:
First, the Fleming Campaign remains on an upward trajectory. Despite a $905,000 onslaught of false, negative television ads from Treasurer John Kennedy (R-LA) and his ESA Fund Super PAC, Congressman John Fleming (R-LA) has continued to gain traction in the tightly packed field toreplace retiring Senator David Vitter (R-LA). This is evidence that Fleming’s strong conservative message and record is resonating with Louisiana voters as they get to know him and the public’s recognition of his positive campaigning despite the best efforts of the Kennedy Campaign to drag Fleming into gutter politics.
In fact, this is the first internal or independent poll that has shown Fleming in a run-off position and winning the “Republican primary” within the Jungle Primary. Fleming has steadily grown his support from low single digits over the summer to a strong position today ready to earn a spot in the December run-off. This has been the result of a well-devised paid media strategy and extensive grassroots campaign.
Second, it is clear that Commissioner Foster Campbell (D-LA) will likely emerge as one of the two candidates to qualify for December’s run-off. If held today, the run-off between Campbell and Fleming would provide Louisiana voters with the strongest contrast between candidates. On one hand is Congressman John Fleming, who has proven himself to be a trusted and tough conservative on issues ranging from defending the dignity of life to securing our borders and protecting our nation from radical Islam. Campbell, on the other hand, has supported taxpayer funding of abortion, said he’s “scared to death” of an individual’s right to conceal carry a firearm, and opposes building a wall to secure our southern border.
Third, while Treasurer Kennedy has regained some of his footing, his incessant false attacks against Fleming and Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) have taken their toll on his favorability. When testing hard support versus hard support plus leaners, Kennedy has the least amount of room to grow among the top three candidates. This indicates that while Kennedy may have the highest floor of support amongst the leading candidates, he clearly also has the lowest ceiling of support and it will be very difficult for him to improve much beyond his current poll standing.
Fourth, the candidacies of Boustany and Caroline Fayard (D-LA) have floundered in recent weeks. Democrat support has clearly coalesced behind Campbell and Boustany has plateaued and seeped some support since the Fleming Campaign’s prior poll. This race has whittled down from a fiveperson race to a three-man sprint to the finish between Campbell, Fleming, and Kennedy.
The Fleming Campaign is confident that its strategy to build an unrivaled grassroots campaign will be its key to victory. In a race to a run-off that will be determined by 1-2%, campaign ground game will be key and the Fleming Campaign has the upper-hand. As respected Louisiana political insider Jeremy Alford outlined in his most recent column, Fleming got a “jumpstart” on his opponents and has the assets of over 120 staff and coordinators across Louisiana. This impressive team has put together vast coalitions of religious leaders, professionals, and veterans to activate in get-out-the-vote activities. The dividends are already being reaped, as over 400,000 Louisiana voters have been personally touched by the Fleming Campaign since Labor Day.
As the campaign turns to the homestretch, the Fleming Campaign believes that their candidate’s extensive domestic and foreign policy know-how, coupled with the campaign’s continued media and grassroots presence, will allow the campaign to maximize Fleming’s upcoming debate performances and propelled him into the December run-off.
How much of this survives objective scrutiny? It depends on whether the poll, performed by JMC Analytics for the Fleming campaign, is accurate.
We don’t have any independent polling on the race, as said above, so we don’t know whether the trends John Couvillon, the pollster conducting this poll, has identified are true.
At this point it does look like Campbell has seized the initiative from Fayard, who last week got Mary Landrieu’s endorsement. She already had Mitch Landrieu’s endorsement and yet it didn’t seem to do a lot for her other than drive Campbell’s campaign manager up the wall. That much we can credit in Fleming’s camp’s analysis.
It’s also relatively safe to say there’s a close battle between Fleming, Kennedy and Boustany for the “Republican spot” in the runoff. There looked at one point to be a chance that two Republicans would be battling it out in December; not any more.
But how is Fleming doing against Kennedy and Boustany? Nobody knows. Not even Fleming’s camp; at best, this poll shows a too-close-to-call three way race.
And the Boustany and Kennedy camps will likely claim Fleming is the least likely of the three to make the runoff.
Until we see an independent poll, which is likely in the next few days, we have no way of knowing where the race actually is.