Recent polling results provide winners and losers not just for this fall’s Senate contest, but next year’s gubernatorial race as well and even insight into the 2026 Senate election.
JMC Analytics surveyed 600 likely Louisiana voters last week on these topics, and Republican Sen. John Kennedy emerged as the biggest winner. Insofar as his 2022 reelection attempt goes, MacAoidh gave a trenchant rundown on what his drawing 53 percent of the sample and any other name save one in the single digits means: he likely will draw approaching 60 percent, black and woke Democrat Gary Chambers will hit around 30 percent in monopolizing the black vote, and great white hope Democrat Luke Mixon will have a hard time cracking double digits (in fact, a pardoned ex-con who now runs a nonprofit aiding ex-con women, Democrat Syrita Steib who announced but has spent no money on her effort, polled at almost half the level of Mixon who has raised almost $200,000 – just over a tenth of what Kennedy has).
This matches Kennedy’s approval number and makes him the most popular politician polled (and the only one above 50 percent). Perhaps then unsurprisingly among the several names polled for next year’s governor’s race – only one candidate has declared, GOP Treasurer John Schroder – Kennedy also comes out on top, at 22 percent. He won’t run, given how he punches above his weight for a freshman senator with his loquaciousness and wit that, like a moth towards a flame, draws even the leftist mainstream media to him and he would gain more influence still in a second term, so with him out much of his vote would go elsewhere.
To the big winner of this contest, according to these survey results: Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry. Considered along with Schroder and GOP state Sen. Sharon Hewitt the most conservative candidate but perhaps Landry the most vocal ideologically, he polls third at 11 percent. Trailing only Kennedy and the black placeholder the pollster inserted, Democrat Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, significantly he leads another all-but-announced contender considered more moderate, Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser at 7 percent, and GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy with 10 percent.
Cassidy at present isn’t likely to run, so most of his vote would go to Nungesser. But with most of Kennedy’s vote defecting to Landry, and the undecided numbers among blacks suggesting Broome (or, in the nightmare scenario for Democrats, Chambers who either supplants another black candidate or splits the votes so thoroughly that no Democrat makes a runoff) could hit 30 percent, Landry not far from that level makes that runoff with her and subsequently would win.
However, the biggest loser is Schroder. One of the highest profile members of state government and actively campaigning, he grabbed a miserable 1 percent total – lower than Hewitt at 2 percent and a white Democrat placeholder, state Sen. Gary Smith at 4 percent. It’s just one independent poll, but if this continues over the next few months he’ll have serious questions about his campaign viability and leaves Landry a clear shot to consolidate the state’s conservative voters.
Yet not far behind Schroder in present loser status, only because he has over three quarters of his present term to serve and projects to the 2026 race, is Cassidy. That a sitting senator could muster only 10 percent, less than half of Kennedy, attests to the lousy approval numbers he garnered at just 38 percent. It would appear that Cassidy’s quest for Strange New Respect, first by utilizing faulty judgment and inadequate understanding of the Constitution in tying to convict on bizarre charges GOP former Pres. Donald Trump, then giving full-throated support to wasteful deficit spending as forced into law by Washington Democrats, has backfired in his backyard among the majority of his constituents.
These numbers, including inverted proportions with 39 percent of Democrats seeing him favorably but only 36 percent of Republicans doing so, signal that in a closed primary, or even in an open primary, state that he would lose the party’s nomination. Only because Louisiana has a blanket primary would he even have a chance to stay in office, if these numbers hold and there isn’t a whole lot that can move them significantly as it is.
A blanket primary for now, that is. If Landry wins the governorship, expect in 2024 the Legislature to send him a change in federal elections to closed primaries that he’ll sign into law. Thus, as a self-defense measure, Cassidy now may take more seriously a gubernatorial run. Except those numbers indicate he wouldn’t make the runoff, where whichever Republican does against a Democrat. In this scenario (applying equally to Nungesser), he would have to hope Democrats self-immolate.
As far as upcoming elections collectively go, these data make Cassidy the biggest loser and Kennedy the biggest winner.