A new poll in the Louisiana governor’s race contains good news for Gov. John Bel Edwards and one of his Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham.
Edwards, a Democrat, received 47% of the vote versus 24% for Abraham and 16% for businessman Eddie Rispone, the other Republican candidate, in the survey taken by Bernie Pinsonat, a Baton Rouge-based pollster, for undisclosed private clients.
The news is good for Edwards because it showed he likely would have won the election had it been held when the survey was conducted, Sept. 3-6, Pinsonat said, once the undecided votes are redistributed.
Propelling Edwards was his 54% positive rating versus a 42% not positive rating, the poll found.
Edwards will win the Oct. 12 primary outright if he receives more than 50% of the vote.
Abraham and Rispone are trying to keep Edwards below 50% and are competing to finish second to make the Nov. 16 runoff against the incumbent governor that would be held if he doesn’t win the primary outright.
Pinsonat’s poll contains good news for Abraham because it showed that Rispone’s TV advertising blitz – the initial commercials featured him pledging fealty to President Donald Trump – have yet to lift him past the third-term congressman from rural northeast Louisiana.
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“Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone are both performing poorly in the Orleans Metro and Baton Rouge Area,” Pinsonat wrote in a poll memo. “Eddie Rispone is underperforming with white voters. Unless Rispone improves dramatically with this demographic group his odds of making runoff are slim. Ralph Abraham has made significant progress in Acadiana.”
Past campaign finance reports have shown that Rispone, who is mostly self-funding his campaign, had five times as much money as Abraham. The next batch of campaign finance reports is due on Thursday.
The poll showed little change in the governor’s race after months of campaigning by the three candidates: Edwards remains the front-runner, followed by Abraham and then Rispone.
The poll of 500 chronic voters, with a margin of error of 4.4%, showed that Edwards received 30% of the white vote (14% were undecided) and 87% of the black vote (7% were undecided).
In the 2015 governor’s runoff, Edwards won 37% of the white vote and 97% of the black vote, according to demographer John Couvillon, in defeating then-U.S. Sen. David Vitter, 56%-44%.
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So Edwards is likely to win this year’s primary if it he captures at least 90% of the black vote.
“The big unknown is can he hold onto the white voters he has,” Pinsonat said in an interview. “If he can, he’s home free. If he doesn’t, he’s in a runoff. Another question is will his black voters turn out.”
Another pollster, Florida-based Verne Kennedy, typically adjusts the black vote to give 90% of it to the Democratic candidate. In his last poll, taken Aug. 13-16, Edwards won 52%, Abraham 25% and Rispone 19%, after Kennedy had adjusted the black vote. Kennedy's poll showed that Rispone's TV commercials had caused him to jump within striking distance of Abraham.
Pinsonat’s poll also showed that Trump had a 54% positive rating among voters and a 43% negative rating. Among just Republicans, Trump had an astounding 94% positive rating.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy had a 59%-34% positive to not positive rating.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy: 59%-32%.
Attorney General Jeff Landry: 50%-27%.
Pinsonat’s poll also queried voters on the low-profile insurance commissioner’s race. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is seeking his fourth full term in office against challenger Tim Temple, a former insurance industry executive who is now a businessman in Baton Rouge. Both are Republicans.
In Pinsonat’s poll, Donelon led Temple, 35%-20% with 45% of voters undecided.
In Pinsonat’s poll, the party registration was: Democrats 44%, Republicans 35% (many registered Democrats typically vote Republican). By race: white 60%, blacks 29%