Search This Blog


Divergent Senate polling artifact or real movement?

Just when you think you’ve got this polling thing on Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race figured out, here comes another one that tosses aside previous conjecturing … maybe.

September closes with a couple of candidate-related polls sandwiching two independent ones. The latest comes from the pollster for Republican Rep. John Fleming and, surprise, it’s pretty flattering for him. It has Fleming just behind Republican Rep. Charles Boustany and Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, just ahead of former lieutenant governor candidate Democrat Caroline Fayard and Republican Treasurer John Kennedy. In other words, five candidates all poll within four percentage points.

Three major differences stand out from the last independent poll, by Southern Media Opinion and Research: Campbell’s and Fleming’s shares almost double and Kennedy’s falls by a few points. Fayard and Boustany poll about the same, with the proportion of undecided still around the one-quarter mark (although this one presses undecided respondents to answer, creating a category of leaners that leaves only one-sixth genuinely undecided).


Sow's ear Senate hopeful whines of getting ignored

Welcome to the real world, Josh Pellerin, where you have the right to throw as much of your own money as you want at trying to win elective office and people have just as much right to dismiss you.

Democrat Pellerin, a businessman political novice, runs for the U.S. Senate, by his own admission anointed to do so by Pres. Barack Obama. He’s dumped $300,000 into the contest (well beyond the nearly $120,000 he reported out the door at the beginning of July, of which he had lent half from himself) and says he’ll go higher. His reward? According to the latest independent poll, 1.7 percent of the intended vote.

According to him, this comes from a conspiracy of pollsters and those who commission their products. Apparently, not enough of them put his name into consideration for respondents, so when candidate forum organizers go looking for contenders to invite from a crowded field of two dozen, he doesn’t have a chance to attain a high-enough average for inclusion. He thinks they need investigating, presumably yet another thing government must stick its nose into according to his prevailing political worldview.


Campbell quest fading through unconvincing actions

If not a polling artifact that Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell has seen a major erosion of support in the last month, maybe it’s due to a campaign approaching the erratic that reveals a Manichean worldview making Louisianans uneasy.

The latest independent poll of the U.S. Senate race that Campbell contests showed his support nearly halved from less than a month previous, falling from second to fourth place. Possibly that result comes from him having served as a Democrat placeholder for respondents not paying a lot of attention to the race prior to Labor Day who have decided to get more serious and thus now list themselves as undecided.

But that’s not a strong argument, for Campbell doesn’t have much name recognition outside of north Louisiana. Rather, prospective voters could be tuning in to his bombastic political style that leave them scratching their heads over contradictory signals and increasingly reluctant to back him given the plethora of alternatives.


Needed reform rankles LA education establishment

A debate over teacher training in Louisiana has brewed, exposing traditional fault lines separating those more interested in protecting the status quo and those willing to embrace innovation that improves the dismal condition of the state’s education quality.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will consider next month a change to teacher preparation curricula that includes a one-year apprenticeship requirement for those hired by virtue of having an education degree. That would roughly double the current requirement, where at the end of university study a student teacher shadows an experienced one for a term. Not only could it provide better preparation but it also might improve retention, as students get a better idea of the job.

Since the effort would require stipends for the mentors and trainees involved, some have claimed that the extra expense makes the idea infeasible. Superintendent John White estimates the three-year rollout would cost $7.5 million, although others call that an underestimation and allege that as school districts face budgetary pressures brought on by flat state funding (and a partial rollback of a state bonus of two year ago aimed at classroom salaries) this should obviate the move.