Louisiana’s undecided voters are being watched very closely in the final days before the October 12th election, which could decide who takes the governor’s mansion.
The election could also determine which candidates face off in the November Runoff election.
John Couvillon with JMC and Analytics and Polling believes that undecided portion of the electorate could catapult the incumbent, Democrat John Bel Edwards to 50% of the vote, which would result in an outright win in October.
In Louisiana, if a candidate gets a majority of the vote they win the election.
If candidates get less than 50% of the vote the top two vote-earners will go on to compete in a runoff.
For this Gubernatorial election that runoff would take place November 16th, and while some believe an outright win in October is out of reach, others are sifting through the numbers to see if Governor Edwards, who is leading in the recent polls, has a shot at an outright win.
“There are two ways in which the undecided voters can affect this race,” said Couvillon. “Which Republican will make the runoff? And if there will even be a runoff.”
On September 19th, hours before the first statewide televised debate aired, JMC Analytics and polling released a poll commissioned by the organizer of the debate, Nexstar. The research showed that Edwards walked on stage that night with 41% of the vote, Abraham had 24% of the vote and Rispone, was at 16% of the vote.
After that event Couvillon released another poll showing some notable movement in the race.
The new poll, commissioned by Louisiana Association of Health Plans and conducted September 19-2, shows Governor Edwards could get 46%, Rispone surging ahead of Abraham with 21%, and Abraham left with just 18% of the vote.
Abraham’s campaign criticized the numbers, calling them “fantasy.”
In an emailed statement Bill Skelly, Abraham’s Senior Strategist and Data Analyst wrote in part, “Two polls, same pollster, one day apart, with two completely different results. The reality is the race didn’t change by 11 points on the one day between these two polls.”
Couvillon contends the two polls were actually separated by more than just one day. “In the Nexstar poll 88% of the data was collected by September 16th, for the latter poll 86% was collected by September 20th,” said Couvillon.
Edwards’ 46% is not enough to win outright in October, but Couvillon says he’s interested to see what the 12% of undecided voters in his poll will do in the coming days, which prompted him to ask them which way they lean.
When undecided voters answer that question Edwards gets 48%.
Couvillon believes if black voters who are still undecided are added to the results that could put Edwards right at 50%.
But Edwards’ republican challengers are still looking to November.
Skelly goes on to write, “Ralph Abraham remains the only candidate positioned to actually defeat John Bel Edwards in November. Our data and analytics continue to actually show us positioned to make the runoff and our plan for the next three weeks will only solidify our place in the runoff.”
Rispone’s Communications Director, Anthony Ramirez writes, “Eddie Rispone is surging at the right time because he is the only conservative outsider in this race. Grassroots conservatives are rallying behind Eddie because he is the only candidate who is positioned to take on – and beat – John Bel Edwards in the general election.”