A new poll released last week by Baton Rouge-based Southern Media & Opinion Research shows that this fall’s Louisiana U.S. Senate race is still far from fully formed.
Not so the presidential contest here. Louisiana hasn’t gone for a Democrat in two decades, and the survey of 500 likely voters taken last month suggests the pattern will hold, regardless of the controversial figure who’s expected to head the GOP ticket.
If the election were held today, 53 percent would vote for businessman Donald Trump and 39 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to the poll. Very few voters, just 8 percent, are undecided or say they wouldn’t support either major party nominee.
Behind those numbers is a familiar racial split, with 71 percent of white voters favoring Trump and 86 percent of African-American voters siding with Clinton. But the real explanation likely rests in responses to a related question: Whether the voters interviewed like or dislike the two candidates.
Just over half the voters interviewed, 52 percent, expressed an unfavorable opinion of Trump (the poll was taken from May 19-23, before new details of alleged fraud at Trump University became public and before Trump said the federal judge in the case couldn’t be fair due to his Mexican heritage). But 64 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, including 53 percent who said their view is very unfavorable.
So even though Trump’s candidacy is expected to put more states in play this fall, don’t expect to see either candidate spend any time on the ground in Louisiana. That may be disappointing for voters who want to check out their prospective choices in person. But it’s probably good news for local politicians of both parties, including all those Senate candidates, who can’t possibly want all that negativity to rub off on them.
‘Grace notes’ is a daily feature by Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace. To read more of her content, including her full columns, click here.