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« Morning Thoughts: No News Is Good News | Blog Home Page | McConnell Gets An Opponent »

Landrieu Up, Barely

A new survey out of Louisiana shows Republicans have a real chance to take back at least one Senate seat, though there is still work to do. The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, shows Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's Republican opponent nipping at her heals, and with room to grow.

The results are good news for the incumbent coming after a poll conducted for that Republican, State Treasurer John Kennedy, showed him leading Landrieu. Conducted 12/6-10, the poll surveyed 643 registered voters by automated dial, for a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Landrieu 46 / 73 / 17 / 35 / 39 / 52
Kennedy 42 / 19 / 76 / 46 / 51 / 33

More Louisiana voters know Landrieu, though that's both good news and bad news. 40% say they have a favorable impression of her, while 32% are unfavorably disposed. Just 35% view Kennedy favorably, while 10% see him unfavorably.

The good news for Landrieu: She has a smaller group to target to win over in order to reach the 50% threshold, and she can use some of her big war chest to define Kennedy early. The good news for Kennedy: Because so few have an opinion about him, he has more room to grow.

President Bush is viewed very unfavorably by Bayou voters, with just 32% approving and 53% disapproving. If Landrieu tries to tie Kennedy to the president -- not a bad move, considering that Karl Rove helped get Kennedy in the race -- the Republican might fire back by tying Landrieu to Congress, which enjoys just a 21% approval rating, while 59% disapprove. Louisiana voters most care about health care (17%), the economy (16%) and Iraq (13%), all three good issues for Landrieu. Still, immigration (13%) and terrorism (9%) could be big factors in the race as well, both of which would seem to benefit Kennedy.

The standard warning about SurveyUSA polls applies: Because they are conducted by recorded message, they are both cheaper and less reliable than polls conducted with live callers. SurveyUSA has a good record of getting the results close if they conduct polls just a few days before an election, but polls this far out can swing wildly from one sample to the next. Always take them with a grain of salt, but they do provide something of a snapshot of the race.