Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is leading challenger Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser in his re-election bid based on a statewide poll commissioned by a New Orleans television station that was released Tuesday.
The poll also showed no clear favorite in the race between Secretary of State Tom Schedler and his opponent, Louisiana House Speaker Jim Tucker, with 55 percent of those surveyed undecided, according to the poll.
Both the lieutenant governor and the secretary of state races pit Republicans against each other in the Oct. 22 election. Early voting began Oct. 8 and continues through Saturday.
The telephone poll of 602 likely voters was conducted Oct. 5-7 by the Washington, D.C.,-based Clarus Research Group. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The poll was commissioned by WWL-TV in New Orleans.
The poll asked: “Of the two candidates running for lieutenant governor which one would you most likely vote for … Jay Dardenne or Billy Nungesser?”
Forty percent of those responding to that question favored Dardenne. Nungesser received support from 27 percent of those queried. Thirty-three percent were undecided.
Dardenne received his strongest support from Baton Rouge, north to the Arkansas line. Forty-eight percent of the voters questioned in that region favored Dardenne, who is from Baton Rouge. Nungesser received support from 18 percent of those surveyed in that region.
The polling shows that Dardenne also led Nungesser — 36 percent to 30 percent — in a south Louisiana region that sweeps from the Texas line through Acadiana to Plaquemines Parish.
Nungesser is from Belle Chasse.
Nungesser outdistanced Dardenne in his home region, which includes the New Orleans area and its St. Tammany Parish suburbs. Nungesser received 38 percent of that region’s voters answering the pollster to 31 percent for Dardenne.
“Dardenne is clearly the favorite here,” said Ron Faucheux, a former Louisiana legislator who is Clarus president and chief analyst.
“For Nungesser to have a chance to win it would take a combination of things. He would have to peel votes off Dardenne, and that’s not going to be easy to do, and beat Dardenne decisively among independents, and that’s not going to be easy to do,” Faucheux said.
Dardenne got 60 percent support among those surveyed who already made their decision, Faucheux said.
According to the poll, Dardenne led Nungesser by 18 percent among Republicans, 13 percent among Democrats and by 3 percent among independents.
In the secretary of state’s race, Tucker got 25 percent to Schedler’s 20 percent when respondents were asked, “Of the two candidates running for secretary of state, which one would you most likely vote for … Tom Schedler or Jim Tucker?”
The remaining 55 percent were undecided or did not know.
“Tucker has a little more recognition than Schedler at this point. But neither of them has much. The voters just don’t know them,” said Faucheux. “This is a race that is yet to be fought and won from the voter standpoint.”
“The campaigns become critical. The voters are going to have to figure out who they like and don’t like,” he said.