According to a new poll from GOP firm Harper Polling, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is very vulnerable in her 2014 re-election battle, which may ultimately decide which party controls the Senate in the 144th Congress.
The poll finds Landrieu in a statistical dead heat with her likely Republican opponent. U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA), widely considered the Republicans’ best hope to defeat the Democratic incumbent, holds a narrow 47 to 45 percent lead over Landrieu, with 8 percent undecided; that 2 percent advantage is within the poll’s plus-or-minus 4.01 percent margin of error. Landrieu leads Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who hopes to outflank Cassidy from the right, by a 47 to 41 percent margin, with 12 percent unsure. Additionally, Landrieu is tied at 44 percent with State Senator Elbert Guillory, who has thus far shown no signs of entering the race.
Despite the Republican lean of the poll — 48 percent of those sampled described their ideology as conservative (compared to 34 percent who said moderate and just 10 percent who said liberal), and respondents said they agree with the goals and objectives of the Tea Party by a 39 to 35 percent margin (with 26 percent not sure). Landrieu is relatively popular among Louisiana voters — 45 percent of respondents view her favorably while just 41 percent view her unfavorably, and voters approve of her job performance by a 44 to 37 percent margin.
Still, just 43 percent say that Landrieu deserves re-election, while 46 percent say that it’s time to elect someone new. Landrieu’s perceived closeness to President Barack Obama, who holds a dismal 32 to 60 percent approval rating in Louisiana, certainly factors into this result — 67 percent say Landrieu generally votes with President Obama’s policies, while just 8 percent say she votes against him, and 25 percent are not sure.
Landrieu is a top target of the Republican Party in the 2014 elections; the GOP almost certainly needs a win in deep-red Louisiana in order to gain the net of six seats it needs to win the Senate majority. To that end, the National Republican Senatorial Committee recently made Landrieu the target of its first ad of the midterm election cycle.
Given the conservative lean of both the poll and the state — Mitt Romney won Louisiana by 17 percent in the 2012 presidential election, and Landrieu is the only Democrat holding a statewide office — Republicans should be somewhat concerned by the Harper Polling/Conservative Intel generic ballot. When asked whether they would prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for Senate, 42 percent said Republican, 41 percent said Democrat, 12 percent said not sure, and 5 percent said someone else.
Also concerning for Republicans are the awful numbers for Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal, who was once considered a serious contender for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, is now barely more popular than President Obama in the Pelican State. Just 32 percent approve of Jindal’s job performance as governor, while 60 percent disapprove and 8 percent are not sure. The results echo a Southern Media & Opinion Research poll from April, which found voters fed up with Jindal’s right-wing policies.
Photo: Mary Landrieu via Flickr.com