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Dems attack Jindal to prevent party electoral meltdown

Louisiana Democrats received another blow when a poll announced that Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal had a stranglehold on the electorate for the governor’s race – and the news could get worse courtesy of one of their own.

Jindal has the intended vote of 63 percent of the sampled electorate, according to the poll. Almost 50 points behind come the rest of the dwarves – Democrat state Sen. Walter Boasso, Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, and Republican businessman John Georges, with Boasso leading them in at 14 percent. Only 17 percent say they are undecided.

Such a magnitude of the vote, if it holds close to this level, will cause state Democrats major problems this fall beyond surrendering the Governor’s Mansion. Candidates at the top of a ticket such as presidential, since the most important race draws the most attention, have the most impact on turnout and subsequent voting behavior for all contests on a ballot. A very popular candidate discourages turnout from other parties’ voters who otherwise would show up to tick off semi-consciously candidates for lower-level offices from that party on the ballot.

In most states, the impact of a candidate having a large gubernatorial lead would be minimal since that contest gets overshadowed by the presidential race, since the majority of states have their elections in years divisible by four, or even by senatorial contests in the dozen or so states that have them in even-numbered years not divisible by four. But a few like Louisiana have theirs in odd numbered years where federal electoral forces have minimal sway, putting the focus clearly on the governor’s race. And at these levels, Jindal’s predicted performance may tip several competitive state legislative races into the Republican column.

And it can get worse. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin continues to talk about a quixotic run for the office, with the poll showing he would come in second. Having such a divisive figure, with the poll showing four-fifths of whites disapproving but almost as many blacks approving of him, running as a Democrat makes the highly unlikely scenario that Boasso or Campbell somehow making it into the general election runoff with Jindal impossible since Nagin apparently would ace them out. Knowing this would discourage turnout of white Democrats further with amplified down-ballot repercussions.

As state Democrats launch an attack ad campaign against Jindal, they do so not out of any real hope that a Democrat can defeat him in the fall, but to energize their base and minimize the aura of inevitability of Jindal’s election that could trickle down into a meltdown of other state and local Democrat office-winning chances.

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