With a little more than eight weeks to go, polls are showing marginal differences between the major, if little known, candidates for state treasurer.

The campaigns, however, see the same anemic numbers as proof their candidates are breaking away from the pack in the Oct. 14 election.

A poll released Thursday by former state Rep. John Schroder showed that 18 percent of 811 likely voters questioned earlier this week would vote for the Covington Republican.

This gave him the lead in a second recent voter survey. Schroder's closest rival was state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, with 11 percent, followed by the 10 percent posted for Republican Angele Davis, a Baton Rouge business consultant who once was commissioner of administration, according to the poll by Remington Research Group of Kansas City that has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percent.

“Schroder’s lead is due to his strengths in the Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport media markets,” the pollsters opined. “Due to his geographic strength in these media markets, we expect Schroder to have a high ceiling.”

A McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted at the behest of Davis found similar results when voters were asked for whom they would vote. Schroder led the field with 13 percent of 500 likely voters in the late July survey. Riser and Davis both collected 11 percent of the election support. The survey released last week had a 5.4 percent margin of error.

But the Alexandria, Va., pollster read the findings as “an encouraging sign” for a first-time candidate to run statistically even with her electorally experienced opponents. Particularly since both Schroder and Riser announced months ago, while Davis officially came out in July.

“This race is certainly fluid, but with the proper resources, Angele Davis has the ability to consolidate Republicans and advance to the November runoff,” the pollster said.

The runoff, if no one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, is Nov. 18.

New Orleans lawyer Derrick Edwards, the only Democrat in the race, scored highest with 29 percent in the Schroder survey and 36 percent in the Davis poll.

Undecided also pulled down huge numbers, 34 percent in the Schroder survey and 29 percent in the Davis poll.

Campaign spin aside, it's way too early for any of these numbers to have meaning, said Bernie Pinsonat, a longtime Baton Rouge political pollster.

The statewide race pits comparative unknowns outside the State Capitol for an office that attracts little attention. Pollsters listed the names of the candidates and asked those surveyed to pick the one they’d vote for. “If they (the pollsters) had asked who the candidates were, I’d be surprised if as many as 3 percent could come up with a single name,” Pinsonat said Thursday.

The race is going to come down to who has the money to run enough television and radio commercials to build up their name recognition, Pinsonat said. Since candidates in this race won’t be able to raise the millions usually necessary to build name i.d., he expects campaigns won’t really start churning until after Labor Day.

Schroder reported having $638,279 in hand on July 6. Davis had $315,373 and Riser had $201,407, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Board of Ethics.

Edwards reported $138 in his campaign war chest, while Joseph Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula had $615 and Terry Hughes, R-Lafayette, had $100 to use for campaigning.

The six candidates are competing to fill out the remaining two years of John N. Kennedy’s term. After sixteen years as treasurer, Kennedy resigned in January to join the U.S. Senate.

The treasurer manages the state’s revenue and debt, handles the investment of the state’s idle funds and chairs the State Bond Commission.

Though New Orleans is electing a mayor, the other 63 parishes have few races to attract voters to the polls on Oct. 14, a Saturday in hunting season that also features an LSU football game against Auburn University.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.