John Bel Edwards Is Taking On The Look Of A Desperate Man

Yes, we have considerably more reason to put up this post beyond the ability to give it a killer theme song, namely the outstanding Desperate Man by Eric Church.

Did you see Friday’s hilarious Tyler Bridges article in the Advocate? It heralded a “new” survey by Verne Kennedy, the pollster of long-standing whose list of clients includes the Advocate’s owner John Georges, which purports to have uncovered some rather unconventional truths about politics and public opinion in Louisiana…

A clear majority of Louisiana voters don’t want Donald Trump to win a second term as president, an independent poll shows.

The survey by pollster Verne Kennedy also shows that as many of the 600 likely voters in Louisiana polled in April approved of Trump’s performance as disapprove of it, which is a further reflection of the president’s problems in a state where he won easily in 2016 with 58% of the vote over Hillary Clinton, the Democrat.

There’s more bad news for Trump in Kennedy’s poll: Louisiana voters by 49% to 41% opposed the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that the president wants to build.

Yeah, sure. But wait, there’s more!

Trump’s weaker-than-expected poll results will likely have consequences for this year’s governor’s race because many Republicans have been saying a late-in-the-campaign endorsement from the president could deliver the decisive blow for a conservative Republican to knock off Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.

If the poll numbers hold up, Trump might be too weak in advance of the Oct. 12 primary to make a difference for either of Edwards’ Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham from Alto in northeast Louisiana or Eddie Rispone, an electrical contractor from Baton Rouge.

In Kennedy’s poll, Edwards led with 46%, followed by Abraham with 17% and Rispone with 5%. But once Kennedy reallocated black voters to their historical 90%-plus vote for the Democratic candidate, Edwards would have led with as much as 58% of those polled.

“Edwards is so strong because he’s a well-known Democrat who is pro-life, pro-Christian and pro-gun,” Kennedy said.

The poll, provided to The Advocate this week by Kennedy, shows that those surveyed by a 54-37% margin favor electing someone other than Trump as president. The poll did not ask whether these voters favored another Republican or a Democrat.

Only 47% of voters polled approved of Trump’s performance while 46% disapproved.

The poll, which we’re told was actually conducted in April and only released now, had Edwards ahead of Abraham 45-28 and ahead of Rispone 47-23, in large measure because Kennedy said Abraham’s effective name ID was only 35 percent and Rispone’s only 25 percent. But Steve Scalise’s name ID according to the poll is all of 41 percent.

To say the least, Moon Griffon’s reaction on Friday when Bridges’ piece came out was spirited. IF he’d shouted “Bullshit!” for 19 minutes straight he’d have gotten the same point across.

Griffon’s point, that for Bridges to write up a poll which doesn’t publish its voter sample, when it was taken or any of the crosstabs and most of all who paid for it, which has such bizarre results compared to every other survey done on Trump’s electoral strength in Louisiana and the governor’s race, completely stinks is spot on.

It does stink. It stinks that it’s Bridges writing the article, when he’s proven himself to be a shill of the worst sort where Edwards is concerned (and the Advocate’s overall slavish coverage of this governor taints the article as much as Bridges’ personal track record). It stinks that Verne Kennedy, who has been in the pay of the Advocate’s owner John Georges for almost 30 years and the poll is presented without disclosing who commissioned it. It stinks that none of the crosstabs or sample information is disclosed.

What does it stink of? It stinks of desperation.

Nobody puts out crap like this unless they’re trying to drive – or in this case change – a narrative.

And hilariously, in a polling sample of “likely voters,” three in five don’t even know who Steve Scalise is, they STILL can’t get John Bel Edwards to 50 percent – not without Kennedy normalizing” black voter support for him to the tune of bumping the governor 12 points.

Got that? He’s just assigning black voters to Edwards because they’re black. He figures Edwards just gets 90-something percent of the black vote, so if black voters tell a pollster they’re undecided he gives them to Edwards anyway, and then just assumes black voters are some percentage of the electorate. Thirty percent or so.

That isn’t as outrageous as it sounds. Worst-case scenario, a Democrat will pull 85 percent or so of the black vote in an election in Louisiana. But how much turnout the black community supplies as a percentage of the electorate will vary a good bit. It can be as high as 32 percent or so, or as low as 25 percent. So if Verne Kennedy has to splash the pot to the tune of 12 percent of the total vote by assigning those black voters to him in order to get John Bel Edwards above 50, the real question is why is Edwards’ support so soft in the black community?

And in case the propaganda offensive on Friday wasn’t enough to signal the desperation in the governor’s camp, over the weekend there was the business with the St. George incorporation. A bill which had passed the legislature over the opposition of Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (who made a complete ass of herself on the Senate floor in screaming racism over St. George) and a few others which essentially provided for the new city to collect sales taxes once it’s incorporated per a vote of the people came to Edwards’ desk Friday afternoon.

And he vetoed it.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed Senate Bill 229, which would have created a transition structure in the event voters approve the incorporation of the City of St. George on Oct. 12.

The bill was initially uncontroversial when introduced by Sen. Dan Claitor early in the session. However, it was heavily amended on the Senate floor to exempt St. George from paying certain legacy costs associated with the city-parish and was therefore opposed by St. George opponents.

In a statement issued late this afternoon, Edwards cites the amendments made to the bill as the reason for his veto. Mayor Sharon Weston Broome released a statement following the veto applauding Edwards’ move and also raising concerns about the amendments.

“The amendments made on the Senate floor would have allowed the proposed City of St. George to simply walk away from debt and pension obligations for services that benefit all citizens,” Broome said in a statement.

“The bill would have forced (East Baton Rouge) and (St. George) into unnecessary and expensive litigation to interpret the floor amendment provisions that were added without any notice or consultation.”

Claitor says he was informed of the governor’s decision in a phone call by Edwards’ executive counsel.

“I don’t want to speak for them, but they didn’t seem to think it created an equitable transition,” Claitor says, adding that he is disappointed by the veto. “They got caught up in the politics of a local matter and would have been better off to leave it be.”

This basically means war with not just the 85,000 or so folks who live in St. George – because if you live there, whether or not you’re for the incorporation you really don’t want to be in a situation in which you’re living in a city that can’t collect sales taxes to pay for city services, and you aren’t likely to think fondly of Edwards for putting St. George in that situation. But it’s more than that – it’s a fairly negative signal to suburban voters, who decidedly lean Republican, all over the state.

Jefferson Parish, for example, went 51 percent for Edwards in 2015. Voters in Jefferson Parish are pretty well acquainted with the St. George effort, and it resonates with them seeing as though the South Baton Rouge experience of being fed up with incompetent, wasteful and downright loony urban Democrat governance is pretty directly related to their own experience having to live next door to (and often work in) Orleans Parish.

Or Ascension Parish, where John Bel Edwards managed 52 percent of the vote in 2015. Don’t think for a minute that Ascension, which borders what would be St. George, doesn’t know all about it. If you think the sympathies of the voters in Ascension aren’t decidedly for St. George then you are not paying attention.

This is certainly going to play out similarly in places where Edwards didn’t do as well in 2015 – like Bossier Parish, or St. Tammany Parish, or Livingston Parish. All of the suburban areas of the state will see that veto as Edwards siding with the incompetent Democrat mayor of Baton Rouge and against the suburban middle class just trying to get some value for their tax dollars. And it was those suburban voters not lining up solidly behind David Vitter in 2015 which turned that election and made Edwards governor.

What he’s doing is sacrificing at least a chunk of those voters. Why?

Go back to Kennedy’s ridiculous poll, and remember that Kennedy boosted Edwards’ total by 12 percent when he “normalized” the black vote for him. We’d say that poll should be disregarded as fantasy, but the fact Edwards, an incumbent with a record, is underperforming so badly with black voters that “normalizing” his share of their vote bumps him by double digits in the overall sample, isn’t good. Also, it isn’t good that a poll sample which says Donald Trump is no more popular in Louisiana than he is nationwide, a finding never made in any other poll of this state since Trump became a political figure, still can’t get Edwards to 50 percent.

And then remember the WeAskAmerica poll from earlier this month which found that 42 percent of Louisiana’s Democrats don’t really want to vote for John Bel Edwards and would like to see another Democrat in the race.

What those data points tell you is Edwards is not in control of his base, and he can’t afford to stray from their wishes. He’s got to run to the left to keep them from bolting on him, and he’s scrambling to do it.

And he knows the only way he can do that without losing the soft Republican voters who made him governor in the first place is to maintain an air of inevitability to his re-election – an air which has greatly thinned in recent weeks. So he’s enlisting the usual suspects by which to do that.

None of this is hard to explain, and it’s even easier to see it coming. It’s easier still not to be fooled by it. Hopefully, the voters of the state are savvy enough to call it what it is.

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