A new poll of likely voters conducted for Townhall by Gravis Marketing reveals that Louisiana's US Senate race is statistically deadlocked, with support for incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu mired in the low-to-mid 40's. In a three-way contest among the top contenders, Landrieu attracts 43 percent support, with Republicans Rep. Bill Cassidy and Col. Rob Manness combining for 44 percent:
In the likely runoff match-up (see below) between Landrieu and Cassidy, the candidates are separated by two-tenths of a percentage point. Neck and neck:
Within the still-sizable cohort (10 percent) of undecided voters, nearly two-thirds identify as political "independents" who don't align themselves with either major party. President Obama's job approval among Louisiana independents is underwater by 45 points (24 percent approve / 69 percent disapprove) in this poll, suggesting that the bulk of undecided voters are at least somewhat inclined to break against Democrats. Obama's overall job approval rating in the state is a paltry 37 percent, with a 58 percent majority disapproving. The president has been consistently and deeply unpopular in Louisiana across multiple statewide surveys. "This poll is good news for Republicans," says Gravis co-founder Doug Kaplan. "The GOP will be happy with these results, and Democrats know this is a crucial seat for them if they want to keep control of the Senate."
This random, scientific survey polled 426 likely Louisiana voters, with a margin of error of five percent. The D/R/I partisan breakdown of the sample is (44/36/20), or D+8; women comprised 53 percent of the sample. Mary Landrieu was first elected to the US Senate in 1996, having been re-elected twice. She won her most recent race by just six points -- in a Democratic wave year, against an unheralded and deeply under-funded opponent. Landrieu is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the country in the 2014 cycle. Louisiana boasts a "jungle primary"-style election system wherein a runoff between the top two vote-getters is automatically triggered if no candidate breaches 50 percent of the aggregate vote total. This year's runoff date is slated for December 6.