This past week, JMC Analytics and Polling was engaged by local businessman Henry Shane to poll the Jefferson Parish Presidents race, and at his request, the poll was publicly released to the media on February 27 (that poll can be found here).
In a subsequent March 1 article posted by Drew Broach on Nola.com (that article can be found here), all three candidates polled in the Parish President’s race were asked for their reactions to the poll. Since this poll showed At Large Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng in the lead with 30%, it was natural in the course of political posturing to expect that those speaking for former Parish President John Young (who is seeking his old job) and current Parish President Mike Yenni (the candidates trailing Lee-Sheng with 23% and 14%, respectively) would have less than positive things to say about the poll in general or JMC Analytics and Polling specifically – that’s “the name of the political game.” However, Mike Yenni’s recollection of the polling record of JMC Analytics and Polling for polls Henry has commissioned JMC to do was pretty sloppy (the relevant part of his statement is reproduced below). JMC will provide a factual rebuttal to the highlighted remarks:
“My decision on whether to seek re-election will not be based on a Henry Shane poll. Henry’s polling in the past had Danny Martiny beating Dominick Impastato, Maria DeFrancesch beating Ben Zahn, and Julie Stokes being elected Secretary of State. None of that happened, and his polling isn’t credible. My decision will be made by me after discussing the matter with my wife, family, key staff members and my trusted political advisor…”
- “Henry’s polling in the past had Danny Martiny beating Dominick Impastato..” – JMC internally polled this 2017 Parish Council race twice for Henry. In neither case was Sen. Martiny ahead. The first time (in January 2017) showed Martiny tied with Impastato 15-15%; in the second poll (in September 2017), Impastato had a five point (35-30%) lead (Impastato won this race 57-43%);
- “Henry’s polling in the past had…Maria DeFrancesch beating Ben Zahn..” – JMC internally polled this race (Mayor of Kenner) in mid October 2016 for Henry, and it showed Zahn with a 37-18% lead over DeFrancesch and 14% for Carroll; (Zahn led in the November 2016 primary over DeFrancesch 49-17% (Carroll received 22%), and won the runoff over Gregory Carroll 72-28%);
- “Henry’s polling in the past had… Julie Stokes being elected Secretary of State..” – JMC was never engaged by Henry to poll this race, although internal polling he did consistently showed that Kyle Ardoin and Gwen Collins-Greenup would make the runoff;
Given that President Yenni believes that JMC’s “polling isn’t credible” (while the races he referenced were 0-3 for factual accuracy on President Yenni’s part), JMC would like to aid his memory recall by mentioning two more Jefferson Parish specific races he polled: JMC (at Henry’s request) polled the Parish President’s race in September 2015, and that publicly released poll (which can be found here) showed Yenni leading Lagasse 32-18% (Yenni won 52-37% in the first primary).
Furthermore, JMC also was the first pollster to show that (then) unelected incumbent Joe Lopinto had a lead over John Fortunato in last year’s special election for Sheriff. That publicly released poll (which can be found here) was not at the time considered to be the conventional wisdom of how the race was going (Lopinto won that race 52-48%).
President Yenni’s remarks about the caliber of polling coming from JMC Analytics and Polling is a perfectly appropriate defensive reaction, given his controversial tenure as Parish President. It’s unfortunate, however, that in defending himself he didn’t do a more professional job of verifying the facts before publicly releasing his statement/attack. JMC respectfully asks President Yenni that the next time he plays “shoot the messenger” that he at a bare minimum consult a search engine like Google.