by Jonathan Singer, Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 07:43:20 AM EST
Late last month Louisiana's state treasurer John Kennedy, the turncoat Democrat Karl Rove tapped to be the Republican nominee in the 2008 Senate race in the state, released polling commissioned from Zogby International that shockingly yielded the exact results that the client wanted (who would ever believe that Zogby would do such a thing...), in this case Kennedy leading Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu by a 45 percent to 38 percent margin. Now non-partisan pollster SurveyUSA has released its own numbers on the Louisiana Senate race, which were not commissioned by a candidate by rather by congressional newspaper Roll Call, and amazingly the results look more than a bit different.
If there were an election for United States Senate today, and the only two candidates on the ballot were (names rotated) Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Mary Landrieu, who would you vote for?
Now I have at least a slight bit of qualm about the ordering of the questions, with favorable numbers on the candidates with their titles asked before the head-to-head, meaning that respondents were not asked the exact same uninformed question they will see on the ballot but rather a quasi-informed question that followed a prompt reminding them what office each candidate currently served in.
That said, these numbers don't look near as bad as some might have you believe. Landrieu's favorable spread is 40 percent positive/32 percent negative -- lower than most other non-partisan public polling, but nevertheless not too bad. Kennedy's numbers are fairly good at 35 percent positive 10 percent negative, but perhaps not as good as one might expect for someone who just finished running a well publicized reelection campaign less than two months ago.
Realistically, Landrieu faces the toughest challenge of any Democratic Senator up for reelection in 2008. However, as Bob Novak noted yesterday (and even a broken clock is right a couple of times a day), "being the most vulnerable Senate Democrat in 2008 is not so bad." In other words, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee already holding an $11.5 million advantage in cash-on-hand over the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the NRSC already having to devote the vast majority of its resources to playing defense, it's likely that Landrieu is going to be getting more help from her party establishment than Kennedy will be receiving from his. This is not limited to direct support from the DSCC either; one could see major donors from around the country hoping to help out the only vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent. Indeed, Landrieu has already raised more than $7 million this cycle and had more than $3.3 million in the bank as of the end of September.
So at this point I'd definitely be more willing to put money on Landrieu than Kennedy were I a betting man (though I'm not rushing to Vegas to make such a bet, either).