RRH Louisiana Poll: Edwards Leads Vitter 48-42

A new RRH Elections survey of the Louisiana gubernatorial race coming up this Saturday finds a competitive race, but one where Democrats remain in fairly strong position. The poll shows State Representative John Bel Edwards (D) leading US Senator David Vitter (R) by 6 points, 48-42.

Surveys were also conducted of the two downballot statewide races, which show clear favorites but many undecideds. In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Billy Nungesser (R) posts a strong lead over Kip Holden (D), 43-29. In the race for Attorney General, Jeff Landry (R) leads incumbent Buddy Caldwell (R) 45-24.

The IVR survey of 359 likely voters was conducted from November 12th to November 16th and has a margin of error of 5%. The survey was designed and conducted by RRH Elections (formerly Red Racing Horses) and paid for with the generous donations of our readers; robocalls were placed by PMI Inc. of Marianna, Fla. RRH Elections is run by a group of eight volunteer editors and has no connections to any candidate or group active in these races.

Full Results:

Topline Results:

Race Leading Candidate Second Candidate Undecided
Governor John Bel Edwards (D) 48% David Vitter (R) 42% 10%
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser (R) 43% Kip Holden (D) 29% 27%
Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) 45% Buddy Caldwell (R) 24% 30%


Demographic Percentage
Male 47%
Female 53%
White 71%
Black 26%
Other Races 2%
18-44 21%
45-64 42%
65+ 37%
Already Voted 47%
Likely to Vote 53%

Among those that voted in the October preliminary in this sample, we found that 43% voted for John Bel Edwards (compared to 40% in the actual results), 29% voted for David Vitter (23% in the results), 17% voted for Scott Angelle (19%), and 11% voted for Jay Dardenne (15%). The drop-off in Angelle and Dardenne voters relative to their performance in the primary may be reflective of decreased enthusiasm among the supporters of the candidates who did not make the runoff. 16% of voters included in this survey did not participate in the October primary, consistent with the reports we have seen of increased turnout for the competitive November runoff.


The survey design and statistical analysis of results for this survey were performed entirely by RRH Elections. Calls were placed by PMI inc. of Marianna Fla. to a list of 5000 randomly selected voters on November 12th and 16th. Approximately 80% of the numbers dialed were from voters who had participated in the October 2015 preliminary election, while the remainder were voters that had not voted in October 2015 but had participated in the November 2012 presidential election. We felt this electoral composition was an accurate estimation of who may be likely to turn out in the November runoff election. From there, voters were asked if they had already voted or were likely to do so; those who indicated they were unlikely to vote were excluded from the survey. If a respondent did not complete the topline questions, their response was marked as undecided. If a respondent did not complete the demographic questions, the answers to those questions were inferred from the voter file. The survey was weighted for race, gender, and age. Random deletion was not used as a method of weighting. Racial weighting was achieved by setting the black turnout in the subsample of those that had already voted to be equal to the known black turnout in the early vote, while age and gender weighting was achieved with a more holistic interpretation of prior electorates.


Here are the crosstabs by demographic:

Demographic John Bel Edwards (D) David Vitter (R) Undecided
Male 39% 51% 9%
Female 56% 34% 10%
White 39% 54% 7%
Black 75% 9% 16%
18-44 60% 33% 7%
45-64 47% 42% 10%
65+ 42% 47% 11%
Already Voted 44% 48% 7%*
Yet to Vote 52% 36% 12%

*This paradoxical result is likely due to random response error.

Here are the crosstabs by first-round vote:

First Round Vote John Bel Edwards (D) David Vitter (R) Undecided
John Bel Edwards (D) 93%  4% 3%
David Vitter (R) 3% 88% 9%
Scott Angelle (R) 12% 60% 28%
Jay Dardenne (R) 29% 57% 14%
Did Not Vote 61% 20% 16%


Perhaps the most surprising result from this poll was the finding that David Vitter, who has trailed in every recent poll of the race, is actually leading with the subsample of those that have already voted. This result is despite the fact that the subsample of those that have already voted is weighted to have a higher black vote percentage (29.5%) than the overall percentage (26%). This result suggests that Vitter’s core conservative voters have been highly motivated to turn out early, while Edwards’s voters are waiting until Election Day. Edwards also leads with those that did not vote in the primary election, suggesting that higher turnout on Saturday will be a good sign for him. Vitter and Edwards are both doing a good job of holding on to their primary voters, taking 90% of those that supported them in October. Those that backed the two eliminated candidates, Angelle and Dardenne, seem mostly to be sticking with the party, with a majority supporting Vitter. However, there seems likely to be a turnout dropoff among those voters, who may find both Edwards and Vitter unpalatable. As for demographics, nationally typical patterns predominate: Edwards leads with younger, female, and black voters, while Vitter leads with older, male, and white voters. These results suggest that Edwards needs to focus on voter turnout in the last few days, particularly among voters who did not turn out for the first round in October. To pull the upset, Vitter’s focus should likely be on winning over Angelle and Dardenne voters, who may consist of Republicans uncomfortable with his personal issues. For now, these results show that Edwards is in a strong position to win, but perhaps not an overwhelming favorite – as conventional wisdom may have indicated in recent weeks. In the downballot races, Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser (R) and former congressman Jeff Landry (R) appear to be in good position in their races for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney general respectively, leading by double-digit margins. Though both races have many undecideds, Nungesser and Landry are nearly at 50%, so there would likely need to be a major swing toward their opponents in the last few days for either to lose.

About RRH Elections:

RRH Elections is a Republican-oriented elections blog specializing in politics, not policy, with particular attention to congressional and state races. We cover electoral news daily and provide insight into the electoral landscape. Using our own in-house expertise, we have produced seven polls, and five of our six prior efforts have predicted the margin in their races to within three points. RRH Elections is run by a group of 8 volunteer editors and has no connections to any group or candidate active in any of the races polled here. This is the seventh poll we have conducted, following successful efforts in AZ-2, TN-Sen, MS-Sen, FL-13, SC-1, and LA-3 over the last three years. Funding for this poll comes entirely from the donations of our readers. If you have questions about this poll, the best way to contact us is by email at redracinghorses (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you enjoyed this poll, please donate so we can bring you another!

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  • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

    The opposite of what we guessed from the hint…

    29, M, R, NY-10

    • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Comparable to the 2 R polls that had it in single digits.

      29, M, R, NY-10

  • Tekzilla November 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Did the other RRH polls have so few respondents? A ton of undecideds this late.

    Thanks for hard work as always.

    36/M/NY-01 (D)

    • shamlet November 17, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Yeah, it’s been this low before, FL-13 was something like 365 IIRC.

      R, MD-7. Put not your trust in princes. Process is more important than outcome.

      • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

        And it nailed it.

        29, M, R, NY-10

        • shamlet November 17, 2015 at 11:18 am

          Sample size is really not as big a deal as people think it is. Doubling a sample size only decreases the margin of error by 30%.

          R, MD-7. Put not your trust in princes. Process is more important than outcome.

          • OGGoldy November 17, 2015 at 11:22 am

            The general rule of thumb, using the most basic and bastardized form of statistics, the MOE for a poll like this is ~1/√n, where n is the sample size

    • Izengabe November 17, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Not to be a “homer” but I wonder if the large undecideds could be part of a “shy Tory” problem. I could see how people could be reluctant to admit they would vote for someone with Vitter’s “problems”.

      Follow me on Twitter: @Izengabe_

  • krazen1211 November 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Very interesting.

  • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Nice comeback for Landry after being screwed over in redistricting.

    29, M, R, NY-10

  • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

    With most of the undecideds among the already voteds coming from voters who voted for the three Rs in the jungle primary, is it safe to assume that they “forgot” voting for Vitter? The Edwards voters didn’t forget…

    29, M, R, NY-10

  • OGGoldy November 17, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I do find it amusing that 7% of those that already voted are unsure. That made me chuckle.
    Bang up job, as always!

    • notpjorourke November 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

      Part of this is probably response error, but I bet that there are a decent number of respondents who answered that they did already vote, but refused to say for whom.
      Doesn’t appear to be a refused option in that “undecided” column.

      • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

        Or that they didn’t really vote yet.

        29, M, R, NY-10

        • Left Coast Libertarian November 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm

          It’s likely the following:
          1. People who hit the button that they voted and meant to respond that they hadn’t.
          2. People who voted and meant to press a candidate but hit the wrong button.
          3. People who are screwing around and just answering anything.

  • GerGOP November 17, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Edwards will win by high single digits, imho. Not a blowout like we feared when the runoff began, but still nothing to be happy about.

    And now I’ll take some deep breaths, as SOTS would prolly recommend.

  • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 11:21 am

    The way to rationalize Vitter doing better among early voters despite it being more Dem and AA, is to assume that the Rs and whites who did vote early were the Vitter voters, while the more R electorate on election day will have the Angelle and Dardenne voters among them voting for Edwards reluctantly.

    29, M, R, NY-10

    • GerGOP November 17, 2015 at 11:33 am

      May come down to turnout. But I suppose Angelle voters are more disgusted by what Vitter did, therefore more likely to get out and vote. c

  • Manhatlibertarian November 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Although the race is closer in the RRH poll than most other polls, the fact remains that Vitter is still behind in all polls. Vitter is trying to attack Edwards on the Syrian refugee issue, but Edwards now says there needs to be a pause in admitting Syrian refugees as a result of the Paris attack so that kind of neutralizes the issue. Also Vitter’s wife Wendy has been working with the archdiocese of New Orleans on admitting Syrian refugees. I just don’t see Vitter winning.

  • Conservative Democrat November 17, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I’m not backing down in my prediction of Vitter winning his 3rd statewide election come Saturday night!


  • GorrestFump November 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I wonder how those 16% of undecided black voters will break?

    • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Wee know how they will break, but polls haven’t been wrong in history even with such samples.
      Example: Most SUSA polls from their golden days.

      29, M, R, NY-10

  • cer November 17, 2015 at 11:48 am

    If I’m Edwards, I might be a tad more concern then he was a couple of weeks a go. Definitely better numbers for Vitter now.

    Conservative first, Republican second!

    • TennesseeMike November 17, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      I agree. If I’m Edwards, this poll would make me nervous. Especially the part where Vitter leads among those who already voted. While an Edwards victory remains the favored outcome, it’s hardly inevitable.

      TN-2 District. A Social and Fiscal Conservative Republican

      • Left Coast Libertarian November 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

        You’d think that “already voted” would be accurate but remember that Carl DeMaio led with “already voted.”

  • kewgardens November 17, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    “So your telling me I got a chance!” — David Vitter . . . . (paraphrasing Jim Carrey)

  • rdelbov November 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the poll and the numbers do not surprise me. Looks like its will be tight on election day.

  • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    James, have you seen any tightening in the R polls you see now?

    Because most public polls basically stayed the same.

    29, M, R, NY-10

  • Republican Michigander November 17, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    One thing that helped Sanford but hurts Vitter. This is not a federal election. Southern states (and New England the other way) are more apt to support the other party in a state election compared to elections that impact national policy.

    For example, Edwards probably wouldn’t be a gun grabber in a state election. He’d sell out Joe Manchin style if it was federal.

    MI-08 - Michigan is a red state again. We need a 50 state strategy and an 83 county strategy.

  • Son_of_the_South November 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    We always get quality polls from you guys. Thanks for the awesome work.

    24, R, TN-09
    Classical liberals are a minority. Fusionism is the answer.

    • MosheM November 17, 2015 at 1:58 pm


      29, M, R, NY-10

  • Tekzilla November 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Do you guys track traffic and eye counts on the thread and the site after a poll is posted to see how “worth it” it was?

    36/M/NY-01 (D)

  • zbigreddogz November 18, 2015 at 10:16 am

    National Review linked to your poll:


    Just FYI.

    • cer November 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      NR…Now that is big time.

      Conservative first, Republican second!

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