There’s not much good polling out of Louisiana. Most polls that do exist are from partisan firms. On the surface, Democrat John Bel Edwards should cruise to victory tonight. I agree he likely will. Here are the factors to consider:
But Wasn’t Matt Bevin Supposed to Lose, Too?
Well, kind of. Many polls had Conway up 4-5% in the final weeks, but my own model had that lead wiped away when pushing undecideds. What my model didn’t capture was the size of the wave of the break toward Bevin. While anticipated, it was a much bigger break than expected. But, the numbers here are different. Many polls showed KY a tie to a slight Conway win. JMC Analytics has shown the closest race with Vitter only 4% down. All other polls have shown Edwards margins between 6 to 20% as of late. So, even if there’s a 9% break toward Vitter, as was the case in Kentucky, Edwards still might pull it out by a few points. The closest Model bands I have right now are at about 9.5%. So, if polling is as bad as it was in Kentucky, sure, this thing could get close. But…
Louisiana is not Kentucky; Vitter is not Bevin
There are two elements here. In some ways, Louisiana is more conservative than Kentucky. But, polling in Kentucky has often been worse than Louisiana as of late. The break to the GOP beyond the final polls in 2015 mirrored what happened to Grimes (D) in her race against McConnell (R) in 2014. While the sample size is small, the same thing did not happen to Landrieu in the 2014 run-off. While she lost badly, she actually did a little bit better than last minute polling.
The other factor here is the candidate. While Bevin ran a terrible campaign in many ways, Vitter is tainted by personal baggage, such as the ongoing attacks on his family values and the D.C. Madam scandal. While I anticipate he’s going to get a small break his way, he reminds me more of Todd Aiken’s issues in Missouri. Aiken under performed even his last few polls, even in a conservative state. Therefore, I’m not sure Vitter will get the GOP break he’d otherwise likely get.
Finally, Louisiana politics have been a mess. The adage that politics are local apply here. Look at Illinois 2014. While data would historically break toward Quinn(D) in a blue state like Illinois at the end of a cycle, he was terribly unpopular. Illinois was ready for a change at the state level. Bobby Jindal(R), the outgoing governor, is terribly unpopular. It looks like Louisiana is ready for a change. Thus, based on all the data, I think Edwards still pulls it out tonight.
With the amount of noise out there, take a firm number with a grain of salt, but final prediction: Edwards 55.6% – Vitter 44.4%. An Edwards +5% margin wouldn’t surprise me with the amount of data error out there, but Edwards +15% is also in the realm.