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Vitter debate engagement improves voter choice

Perhaps the winner on the issues at the junior-sized Louisiana governor candidate debate was the only quality candidate who didn’t make an appearance at it. But his being a bit less circumspect about occasions to discuss these would validate that assessment.

The debate wasn’t quite a big boy encounter, not so much because college students rather than interests typically more involved and less insulated from public policy organized and delivered it but because the race favorite, Sen. David Vitter, didn’t grace it with his presence. According to his Senate website, the Republican was only a few dozen miles away yesterday inveighing on the lesser prairie chicken, but declined attendance with an unspecified prior engagement.

Naturally, Republicans Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards made disapproving noises about his semi-excused absence. Then they proceeded to underwhelm in their answers to the menu of questions.


Visions compete to forecast gubernatorial election

It now appears that at least one pollster of the 2015 Louisiana gubernatorial contest figures a different electorate than recent trends suggest on which other pollsters base their samples. If he is correct, the contest’s dynamics differ from what commonly is believed.

Market Research Insight has polled monthly on behalf of a small group of subscribers. A portion of the proprietary information gets leaked from time to time and made some news last month when it gauged a neck-and-neck race between Sen. David Vitter and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. This was contrary to every other poll from several other outfits that consistently have Vitter and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, the only Democrat in the race, leading the pack considerably over Angelle and the other Republican, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. The MRI poll basically replicates other polls’ results on the placements of Edwards and Dardenne when assigning 90 percent of the total black vote to Edwards and the remainder proportionally to the others.

That July poll truly resided as an outlier as polls immediately before and after it showed clear Edwards/Vitter and Angelle/Dardenne tiers. It was speculated previously that the differences could come only from two sources, one being that particular MRI poll suffered from an “unhappily randomized” sample. Simply, it could have been an instance, with most pollsters choosing to risk this degree of inaccuracy, where the five percent chance of drawing an unrepresentative sample of the population actually did occur.


"Rebels" nickname, mascots don't need eradication

In a frenzy to follow fad, should area government dissociate anything reeking of the Confederacy from schools and other public spaces?

Sparked in particular by savage murders earlier this summer, questions have risen anew about the appropriateness of symbols identified with the long-gone Confederate States of America serving as names of streets, buildings, monuments, and nicknames and/or mascots of public schools’ competitive teams. Bestowing such attention on these items in the public space risks conveying the impression that the less salutary aspects of the Confederacy continue to receive endorsement even to this day.

Of course, the idea that having some Confederate-associated label disgraces irredeemably the object is terribly oversimplified. The controversial monument celebrating the last Confederate national government located in Shreveport that (for now) sits proximate to the Caddo Parish Courthouse serves as a valued historic reminder, for example. Yet, at the same time, the historical record makes clear that, of the several reasons why the southern states rebelled, their governments’ desire to preserve slavery was paramount, lending evil to the treasonous enterprise, thus making invalid any argument that to fly before any other choice the (Third) Confederate (Battle) flag celebrates certain virtues, for the present American flag does the same without the baggage.


Dardenne remark shows his campaign desperation

It’s official: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has gone into desperation mode in his quest for Louisiana’s top office.

For months, the governor’s race dynamics have presented a challenge to him. Sen. David Vitter’s strong conservative credentials plus ability to meld populist preferences into him make his a formidable Republican challenger. Meanwhile, Democrats wishing to have an affair with Dardenne on their endorsed standard-bearer state Rep. John Bel Edwards, given the former’s good government record while in the state Senate but willingness to raise taxes to fund it, have another suitor from the right-of-center in Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. With the vote closer to the center split by Dardenne and Angelle, Vitter and Edwards have clear sailing to dominate among voters at the ends of the ideological spectrum, leaving Angelle and Dardenne dragging the rear and considerably behind the others.

Now with fewer than eight weeks remaining until the Oct. 24 election, the stability of these dynamics suggest nothing will change as long as the candidates continue to stress the same themes and issues. So, perhaps shaken by a recent report, Dardenne decided to do just that.


The Advocate column, Aug. 30, 2015

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