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Democrat fortunes shaky in LA for November contests

Despite some overly-cheery conjecturing by the pollster, a poll for a private group that tacked on a few questions about upcoming political contests provided some guarded, bad, and terrible news for Democrats likely subject to Louisiana statewide votes in November.

The Southern Media Opinion and Research poll taken about two weeks ago gave most hope to Sen. Mary Landrieu, running for reelection against heavyweight Republican challenger state Treas. John Kennedy. She led him 50-38 percent, any number below 50 percent meaning, because if an incumbent more than six months out from an election cannot draw at least that, she would be in serious trouble.

As it is, she’s only in mild trouble. With so few people tuned into the contest at this point with almost no advertising concerning it, some respondents will give an incumbent’s name simply out of familiarity, and some undecided voters, not really knowing about the competitor but leaning against the incumbent, will end up breaking against her later. Thus, her support is overstated at this point and if it drifts downwards even a little, she becomes unlikely to repeat in office. Stating “It means the voters obviously have a very high regard for her as their U.S. senator,” and “She is going to be tough to beat because she is so well-thought of,” as does the pollster shows little real understanding of what these head-to-head numbers actually mean

But that’s a better situation that Sen. Hillary Clinton faces in winning the state as a presidential candidate. She polled down 49-42 percent to Republican Sen. John McCain, apparent GOP nominee. Apparently, the only one surprised by this is the pollster, who marvels, “I don't know that she would carry Louisiana, but McCain would certainly have to come in here and campaign to win it. It's certainly not a cinch.”

In reality, Clinton has little chance of winning. She always will draw respectable numbers in Louisiana – recall that her husband won the state twice – because there are yellow-dog Clintonites who would vote for anything associated with the 42nd president. But she does not have his political skills or has had his good policy luck or the audacity to take credit for good GOP policy initiatives that got him to fool enough non-liberals to win here. Expect a bare modicum of campaigning regardless of who gets nominated; she would probably end up at least seven points down if she wins the nomination.

The 16 percent gap to McCain for Sen. Barack Obama, however, got the pollster to stop blowing Democrat sunshine up our skirts and instead got him musing about voter intentions – without actually making any enlightening observations. Noting that while a little more than a quarter of whites said they’d support Clinton against McCain while just over a seventh would support Obama in that matchup, he concluded, “Race is obviously entering into the extremely poor numbers he's receiving from white voters.”

I’d hate to see what this surveyor would term as not obvious, for racial attitudes probably play just a small part in that difference (additional questions that could determine some of these things seemed not to have been asked). It’s not “race,” but the facts that Obama thinks people of faith don’t worship God but “cling” to belief, that until very recently his wife never had any pride in her country America, and that by continued patronage and active participation in a church by him and his entire family he endorses the ideas behind the ranting of a minister who calls on God to condemn America and who tells his congregation about how evil America run by whites is, including how they foisted genocide by inventing AIDS and got paid back by 9/11. The problem for the white Louisiana electorate is not that Obama is black, it’s that Obama has Obama’s belief system, as much as he tries to obscure it, which is profoundly out of step with its own.

The best summary of this poll is that, if you’re a Democrat who spends most of your time outside of Louisiana, your chances of winning a statewide election are at best fair, and at worst none.

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