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Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- U.S. Sen. David Vitter, left, answers a question at a Gubernatorial forum hosted by Louisiana State Troopers Association at the Crown Plaza hotel Saturday, as fellow candidate John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, looks on. Candidates participating were Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and Vitter, all Republicans, and Edwards, a Democrat. Retired La. State Police Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Mark Oxley, the event moderator, is in background.

Another new poll in the Louisiana governor’s race shows Democrat John Bel Edwards with a double-digit lead over Republican David Vitter and above the crucial 50-percent mark with less than three weeks until the Nov. 21 runoff.

The latest poll, conducted by Market Research Insight, found that if African-American voter turnout is at 25 percent in the runoff, Edwards leads Vitter 54 percent to 38 percent — a 16-point lead. If the black vote drops to 20 percent, then Edwards still leads by 11 points, 51 percent to Vitter’s 40 percent.

“There is little doubt that Edwards holds the advantage and well over a 50 percent probability of winning the run-off,” MRI pollster Verne Kennedy writes in his analysis of the results, which was provided to The Advocate. Kennedy led the survey on behalf of an independent group of private business leaders, including Advocate owner John Georges.

The poll was conducted Oct. 27-28 and surveyed 600 Louisiana voters who participated in the Oct. 24 election and plan to vote in the runoff. The margin of error is 4.1 percent.

The poll’s findings are similar to another independent poll released this week. That one, conducted by JMC Analytics, showed Edwards 20 points ahead of Vitter at 52 percent to 32 percent.

Edwards, a state representative from Amite, and Vitter, a U.S. Senator from Metairie, came in first and second place, respectively, in Louisiana’s Oct. 24 primary. Because neither got more than 50 percent of the vote, the runoff will decide Gov. Bobby Jindal’s successor.

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