Louisiana Senate Runoff

 

 

 

With less than two weeks until the U.S. Senate run-off election in Louisiana, the Republican wave will continue, as three-term incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu faces what could be the biggest landslide loss by any incumbent Democrat in the 2014 cycle.

The survey, conducted by GEB International on behalf of Independent Women’s Voice, shows GOP challenger U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy trouncing Landrieu by 26 percentage points. However, the complication for Landrieu goes further then her narrow constituency (where her support fails to expand beyond hardcore Democrats) and toward her unpopularity, the unpopularity of the President and her misalignment on two important issues – ObamaCare and immigration.

Louisianans, by 72-20%, see the United States as on the wrong track.  This includes 92% of Republicans, 79% of Independents and 37% of Democrats. This is a contributing factor to both the President’s and Landrieu’s unfavorable rating.

Barack Obama has a net negative favorable rating, with two-thirds of Louisianans saying they are unfavorable toward him. This includes 80% of Independents, and nearly a third (32%) of his fellow Democrats. Similarly, 62% of all likely voters, 69% of Independents, and 26% of Democrats views Landrieu unfavorably. Cassidy, on the other hand, enjoys a positive favorability rating, with 48% of all likely voters, 76% of Republicans, and 45% of Independents favorable toward him.

Landrieu is also on the wrong side on two of the biggest issues for likely voters.  According to the survey, voters believe that illegal immigration is the biggest issue facing the nation as a whole; on the personal side, they believe ObamaCare and, to a lesser extent, the related issue of increasing health care premiums are the biggest issue that they and their families are facing.

When voters were asked which is more important for Congress to deal with first, where they were given the choice between building the Keystone XL Pipeline, repealing ObamaCare, or restricting the President from authorizing illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S by Executive Order, 41% said restricting the President from taking executive action on illegal immigration was the most important issue of the three.  Further, 77% of likely voters believe that no American President should act on his own through Executive Order, no matter how important the issue, except where the Constitution specifically authorizes him to do so.

Louisiana voters have also soured on the President’s signature piece of domestic legislation, with a majority (51%) of all voters saying ObamaCare should be repealed. (This includes 74% of Republicans, 54% of Independents, and 27% of Democrats.) Part of this souring is linked to the effect of the legislation on voters – the Affordable Care Act has negatively impacted 41% of all voters or someone they know. (This includes 58% of Republicans, 51% of Independents and 20% of Democrats.) The other part is the ObamaCare premium increases that have begun to pick the pockets of Louisianans and the lack of transparency around the price increases. Sixty-two percent (62%) of all voters acknowledge premium increases as happening, and 60% of all voters believe the Obama Administration purposely delayed the increases until after the midterm elections – this includes 83% of Republicans, 67% of Independents, and even a whopping 35% of members of the President’s own Party.

Moreover, the survey makes clear that for the largest number of Louisiana voters, the principal reason to stop illegal immigration is not that illegal immigrants take jobs from American citizens, or to stop the influx of criminals or even terrorists from crossing the border; rather, the most important single reason to stop illegal immigration is the need to use tax dollars to support American citizens, followed by the need to protect the rule of law. Pluralities of Independents (33%) and Republicans (29%) place the use of tax dollars to support Americans first, while placing the need to protect the rule of law second (27% support among Republicans, 28% support among Independents), while Democrats place the need to protect the rule of law as their top reason to oppose illegal immigration, scoring 21%.

Interestingly, the single best line of attack against Landrieu is not that she voted with President Obama 97% of the time (54% say they would be less likely to vote for that candidate), but that she cast the deciding vote for ObamaCare (55% say they would be less likely to support that candidate).

Further, fully 63% of the survey sample (including 73% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats, and 61% of Independents) say they would be more likely to support a candidate who worked hard to pass legislation to repeal the special exemption from ObamaCare enjoyed by Members of Congress and their staffs, so that Congress lives under the same laws it imposes on the rest of us.

President Obama’s decision to defer deportation for up to five million illegal immigrants by executive action clearly hurts Landrieu. By 77-17% (92-5% among Republicans, 60-32% among Democrats, and 83-11% among Independents), Louisiana voters said that “No American President, Democrat or Republican, should ever go around the law, no matter how important the issue, except where the Constitution specifically authorizes him to do so” comes closer to their point of view than does “Any American President, Democrat or Republican, should act on his own through executive order, even if it means going around the law, if he feels it is important enough and he is not getting cooperation from the Congress.”

The cumulative effect of this is seen in the ballot test, where Cassidy leads Landrieu 60-34%. While 26% is, on its own, a huge deficit, a closer look reveals an even bleaker picture for Landrieu and just how weak her constituency is.  As the graph below demonstrates, Bill Cassidy’s support goes well beyond Republicans to include 66% of Independents and 25% of Democrats – Landrieu is losing a quarter of her own party. And the kingmakers of this election – the supporters of Tea Party-backed Rob Maness, who finished third in the first round of voting, with 14% – have moved squarely behind Cassidy, by 83-6%. Further, Mary Landrieu is losing among women by 19 points. Among Independent women, it’s even worse; she is losing by 38 points. And 22% of Democrat women say they are voting for Cassidy.

Landrieu’s attempt to pass a bill on the Keystone XL Pipeline was the last chance to reverse the ebbing tide of support. Like that feeble attempt, it is clear that her time and support have run out, making it virtually certain that the GOP will pick up this seat. Now, the real question is simply, “by how much?”

Methodology:  This Louisiana Statewide survey of 850 likely voters was conducted on November 20, 2014 by telephone to a random sampling of voters and has a Margin of Error of +/- 3.36%.

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