BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Counting down the hours to Election Day, in the race for governor, one thing appears certain.
"John Bel Edwards probably has one runoff slot locked up," said 9News Political Analyst Jim Engster.
And now, it seems the three other major candidates, all Republicans, are in a tighter race than anyone expected months ago when succeeding Gov. Jindal was said to be Sen. David Vitter's job to lose.
That's a far cry now according to a new independent survey this week from renowned pollster and LSU graduate Verne Kennedy. Polling 600 likely voters, most of them landline calls, his results show Rep. Edwards is way ahead of the field notching 34 percent.
On that note, Rep. Edwards tells 9News in a statement Thursday, "I am extremely confident going into Saturday, but I'm also extremely confident we will beat our opponent in a runoff."
"He stands to get most of the traditional Democratic base, and the Republicans have been attacking each other," said Engster.
Which makes sense looking at the tight numbers in the Kennedy poll.
Vitter has just 19 percent, and not far behind him, tied at 16, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle.
With the margin of error, it's a statistical dead heat.
The new numbers vary greatly from the WAFB Raycom Media poll. Conducted earlier this month, it showed Vitter with a much bigger lead.
"Vitter continues to d rop. Jay is peaking at the right time. We are confident he will be in the runoff," said Dardenne's team in a statement Thursday..
"We're continuing to raise the most money in the final days," a statement to 9News from Angelle's campaign said. "We're looking forward to a victory on Saturday night."
As for Sen. Vitter, he appears to already be making plans for a runoff with the lone Democrat.
An email obtained by 9News shows Baton Rouge lobbyist Jimmy Burland of Burland & Assoc. reaching out to other Vitter supporters, asking for $3 million in donations specifically to fight Edwards.
"Money is still the biggest factor in politics," said Engster.
The Vitter campaign discounts the Kennedy poll, and instead points to another firm called Marblepoint. It shows Vitter with a much bigger lead over his Republican opponents.
The Edwards campaign also sent out a release Thursday, touting the results of the Marblepoint poll which shows the Amite representative at 41 percent.
"Ultimately, this election comes down to who can lead the state in a way that Bobby Jindal has not in the last eight years," said Engster. "It's apparent the electorate is not happy with Gov. Jindal's leadership."