Louisiana is a Southern state that remained faithful to the Democratic Party longer than any other state in the region except possibly Arkansas. However, there has been an unmistakable and steady movement over the last decade to the Republicans, to the point that now there are Republican majorities nearly across the board (in other words, Republican majorities in both houses of the Legislature, nearly all statewide offices are held by Republicans, the Supreme Court, Public Service Commission, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education). Even in the 2018 Democratic landslide, Louisiana remained staunchly Republican: the partisan vote in Congressional races (all six districts were contested) was 57-38% Republican.
There is a notable exception to the increasing Republican dominance: Democrats recaptured the Governorship in 2015 due to a combination of two things: (1) Republican infighting in the primary prevented any kind of coalescing of the Republican vote in the runoff, and (2) a well run campaign from Democrat John Bel Edwards that proactively inoculated itself against attempts to portray him as a liberal by noting his conservative stances on abortion and gun rights, and by emphasizing his military background.
Now that Governor Edwards is running for re-election against two currently announced Republican candidates (Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone), will partisan voting patterns reassert themselves and doom his re-election, or does he still have some affirmative strength despite going through numerous legislative special sessions to get a budget passed ?
JMC was engaged to poll this race, and these are the takeaways from the poll (which can be found here):
- President Trump remains popular in Louisiana, although there has been some erosion in his support;
- Governor Edwards faces a challenging reelection, and that campaign is likely to go to runoff;
- Governor Edwards has a relatively static base of support regardless of the ballot configuration;
- If undecideds among blacks and Republicans are properly allocated, Governor Edwards has a 45-42% lead over Republican candidates.