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 in the runoff against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, will partisan voting patterns reassert themselves and doom his re-election, or does he have some affirmative strength of his own?
This is an independent poll conducted by JMC Analytics and Polling, and these are the poll’s takeaways:
- This race will go down to the wire;
- While Governor Edwards has lost a bit of support since the last poll (which was commissioned for Nexstar), Rispone hasn’t seen an increase in his support;
- This race will boil down to (1) the extent to which black Election Day turnout will increase in the same manner that early voting turnout did (JMC analyzed runoff early voting here), and (2) the extent to which the “also ran” vote (particularly the vote that went to Ralph Abraham) defects to Governor Edwards.