Louisiana Gubernatorial Election Survey of Likely Voters

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We Ask America, a nationally recognized polling firm, today released its second statewide survey analyzing the upcoming Louisiana Governor’s race.

Incumbent Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, as public polling all year has shown, remains just shy of winning outright and avoiding a November runoff.  Receiving 47% of likely voters, he enjoys a stellar image and appears to have largely avoided the fire of his Republican opponents, Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, as they battle for second.

Eddie Rispone has successfully converted his massive money advantage to a rise in the polls, now sitting in second place at 23%, ahead of his fellow Republican, Ralph Abraham, at 17%.  While Rispone has overtaken Abraham, the gap remains close and will be the battle to watch in the closing weeks. 

Looking ahead to a potential runoff, Governor Edwards will have to deal with a plurality of voters who believe that Louisiana has gotten off on the wrong track.  Perhaps the largest question is whether his image is able to hold up under an almost certain barrage of singularly focused attacks when Republicans have consolidated under a single candidate. 

We Ask America previously released polls in Louisiana and three other states: a statewide survey of Likely 2019 Democratic voters in Louisiana to gauge how his Democratic base felt about Governor Jon Bel Edwards signing conservative abortion legislation; a statewide survey of Likely 2020 Republican Primary voters in Nebraska to assess the landscape ahead of a potential primary for Senator Ben Sasse and to gauge voter’s attitudes regarding the debate over property taxes in Lincoln; two statewide surveys of Registered Voters in Illinois to assess the direction of the state, the job performance of its leaders, their opinion on Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address, and the level of support for implementation of a progressive income tax; and a statewide survey of Registered Voters in Indiana to gauge voter’s opinions about the job performance of its leaders, their opinion on the legal age to purchase tobacco, and local Democrats’ preference on presidential candidates.

CLICK HERE FOR TOPLINE RESULTS

CLICK HERE FOR CROSSTAB RESULTS

KEY FINDINGS

  • Governor Edwards sits just short of avoiding a runoff.  Getting 47% of the vote, Edwards appears to be just short of winning outright and headed towards a runoff with either Eddie Rispone or Ralph Abraham.  Having all but locked up his Democratic base, Edwards is getting 89% of the vote among self-identifying Democrats and is cutting in to Rispone and Abraham’s Republican base, peeling away 13% of self-identifying Republicans (but just 10% of registered Republicans).  Among self-identifying Independents, Edwards is receiving 43%.  Among white voters, he sits at 34% and among black voters is getting 75%.

  • The race for second place now favors Eddie Rispone.  Assuming Edwards cannot surpass 50% in October, Eddie Rispone has positioned himself as the front-runner to take on the governor in a November runoff.  Getting 23% overall, Rispone is receiving a plurality of self-identifying Republicans at 44% and edging Abraham with Independents at 15% (versus 13% for Abraham).  Rispone does best with older voters, getting 31% of those 50-64 years of age (versus 18% for Abraham) and 24% of those 65+ (versus 17% for Abraham).  Lastly, among those who believe Louisiana had gotten off on the track, Rispone is getting 42% of the vote compared to 30% for Abraham and 17% for Edwards.

  • Governor Edwards enjoys a high favorability rating.  Overall, 56% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Edwards (35% very favorable) compared to 35% having an unfavorable opinion.  Among registered Democrats, he sits at net +63% (78%Fav/15%Unfav) while he’s net -35% (28%Fav/63%Unfav) with Republicans.  Among Independents, 61% view him favorably while 27% have an unfavorable opinion.  With self-identifying Democrats, Edwards a whopping 89% have a favorable opinion of him, while just 5% have an unfavorable one.  Among black voters, 77% view him favorably (62% very favorable) while 17% view him unfavorably.  Edwards does best with seniors where his image sits at a net +32% (63%Fav/31%Unfav).

  • Eddie Rispone’s tv blitz targeting Republicans has worked.  Coupled with his rise in the polls, Rispone’s image has also taken off with his Republican base.  Overall, 40% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Rispone compared to 38% who have an unfavorable opinion.  Among registered Republicans, 64% now have a favorable opinion of Rispone versus 17% who have an unfavorable opinion.  However, his ads declaring himself a conservative and his support of President Trump have also worked to solidify high unfavorables with Democrats, where 24% of registered Democrats (just 18% of self-identifying Democrats) view him favorably compared to 53% who view him unfavorably (60% of self-identifying Democrats).

  • Similar to Rispone, Ralph Abraham is highly popular with Republicans but not Democrats.  Overall, Abraham’s image is a wash, with 38% of likely voters having a favorable opinion while 38% have an unfavorable one.  Among Republicans, 65% have a favorable opinion compared to just 18% who have an unfavorable one.  Among registered Democrats, however, just 18% have a favorable opinion of him versus 56% with an unfavorable.  Among self-identifying Democrats, just 13% view him favorably versus 60% who have an unfavorable opinion.

  • Voters are split on the direction of the state.  A plurality (44%) of likely voters believe Louisiana has gotten off on the wrong track, while 43% believe it’s headed in the right direction.  Among registered Democrats, 61% believe the state is headed in the right direction while 27% think it’s gotten off on the wrong track.  Among registered Republicans, over two-thirds (69%) say that the state is on the wrong track and just 17% believe it’s headed in the right direction.  Half (50%) of white voters say that it’s on the wrong track versus 36% right direction, while 59% of black voters say it’s in the right direction versus 28% on the wrong track.  Lastly, among undecided voters in the governor’s race, 23% say the state is headed in the right direction versus 35% who say it’s gotten off on the wrong track.

Methodology

This poll was conducted between September 24th and 26st, 2019 using a blend of automated calls to landlines and live-operator calls to cell phones.  In all, 600 interviews were achieved among registered voters in Louisiana, who are likely to vote in the 2019 October election.  150 of these responses came from cell phones.  The Margin of Error for this survey is +/- 3.99% at a Confidence Interval of 95%

Evan Walker