Friday, May 02, 2008

LA-06 - 'Democrats Positioned to Take Away Baker's Seat'

Poll results released on April 30 by Survey USA indicate that the Democrats are likely to pick up Louisiana's 6th Congressional District seat, which has been held by Republicans for nearly thirty years.

On Saturday, May 3, Democrat Don Cazayoux will face off against Republican Woody Jenkins in a special election to replace former GOP incumbent Richard Baker. The SUSA poll has Cazayoux leading Jenkins 50-41 percent.

Among white voters, the Republican has a 5-point advantage. Among black voters, the Democrat leads 5:1.

Among voters age 50+, the Republican has a 5-point advantage. Among voters younger than 50, the Democrat leads by 20.

Among men, the contest is effectively tied. Among women, the Democrat leads by 19.

19% of Republicans cross-over and vote Democrat. 18% of Democrats cross-over and vote Republican.

Independents break 2:1 for the Democrat.

Among voters who say that illegal immigrants should be forced to leave the country, the Republican leads by 14. Among voters who say that illegals should be penalized but allowed to stay in the country, the Democrat leads by 34.

Among voters who say Congress should continue to fund the war in Iraq, the Republican leads by 51. Among voters who say Congress should reduce funding for the war, the Democrat leads by 41. And among voters who say Congress should stop funding the war altogether, the Democrat leads by 80.
Cazayoux is benefitting clearly from the nationwide political trend driving voters toward Democratic positions, if not to the party itself. Despite the efforts of Jenkins and the NRCC to paint him as a left-wing liberal, Cazayoux is by any measure a centrist. He identifies himself as a "John Breaux Democrat," and has the endorsement of the conservative faction of Democratic congressmen known as the Blue Dogs. A shrill series of ads and mailers depicting Cazayoux as the running mate of Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama does not seem to have gained much traction in a district that, despite its conservative profile, appears ready for a change.

It is interesting to note that Jenkins enjoys his widest margins with voters who hold extreme right-wing policy positions, such as the view that illegal immigrants should be forced to leave the country - but that even on that issue, his advantage withers in comparison to Cazayoux's support among voters who hold a more nuanced position.

However, SUSA cautions that because this is a special election, turnout will be a significant factor.

If voters are older and/or whiter than SurveyUSA here foresees, the Republican will outperform these numbers. President Bush received 59% of the vote in the District in 2004. Baker ran unopposed in 2006.

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