BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A brand new poll in the U.S. Senate race puts State Treasurer John Kennedy in the lead with roughly two and half weeks until the election.
An exclusive WAFB | Raycom Media poll asked 625 registered voters in Louisiana who they would vote for if the primary election was held today. Nearly two dozen candidates are vying for U.S. Senator David Vitter's seat.
Approximately 24 percent said Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy, 19 percent said Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, and Caroline Fayard, a Democrat, got 12 percent.
"Right now it appears the two most likely survivors are John Kennedy and Foster Campbell, and not coincidentally, they are the two who have run the most often and are the best known," said political analyst Jim Engster. "And in a crowded field sometimes, name recognition is enough to get a candidate 20 to 25 percent."
Of the voters questioned, 11 percent and 10 percent respectively said they would vote for Republican Congressmen Charles Boustany and John Fleming. Five percent of those polled say they will support David Duke.
"Well David Duke, once upon a time, got 60 percent of the white vote in a US Senate race in the 1990s. So he has some of the voters still around, and they still vote, and it appears that he's got 5 percent that will follow him anywhere on the earth," Engster said.
Almost 13 percent are still undecided.
"Maness has been crowded out in a large field. He's got candidates from his own area, such as John Kenned and David Duke, and he's got others who are conservative, such as John Fleming and Charles Boustany, that there just isn't enough room for him to move, and he didn't have the money the resources to make a splash that was big enough to really get into the final stretch as a viable candidate to make the runoff," Engster said.
Breaking down the numbers by four regions of the state, the state treasurer also has the support of most voters (31 percent) questioned in the Baton Rouge area, an area where Fayard does her best (22 percent), although it is not her home base.
In the Metro New Orleans area, which includes 12 parishes, Kennedy (28 percent) and Campbell (24 percent) still lead the pack.
Boustany, whose political base is the Lafayette area, outshines all the candidates in the south-central region with 38 percent support.
Fleming's highest showing of 16 percent comes from voters in his base - the northern part of the state. He is neck-and-neck with Campbell (15 percent) who also represents that area.
"In order for Fleming or Boustany to some how, some way end up in a runoff, they've really got to clean up on their home turf, and right now it looks like they've got some work to do," Engster said.
When it comes to the different demographics, most white voters questioned, 34 percent of them, said they would vote for Kennedy, while 41 percent of black voters said Campbell.
"Which Democrat gets the most African-American vote will quite likely mean which Democrat makes the runoff," Engster said.
Statewide, a majority of men polled are leaning toward a Republican candidate, with Kennedy garnering 29 percent, followed by Campbell with 19.
And of likely female voters, Kennedy and Campbell both bring in 19 percent. Fayard, one of the only women in the race, gets 15 percent support among female voters.
The six candidates who got five percent or more support in the poll will debate on FOX 8 in New Orleans, WAFB in Baton Rouge, KPLC in Lake Charles and KSLA in Shreveport.
That is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2.
As of Thursday, there are still 23 candidates in the crowded race. Here are the results for each candidate:
- John Kennedy - Republican 24.2%
- Foster Campbell - Democrat 18.9%
- Caroline Fayard - Democrat 12.0%
- Charles Boustany - Republican 11.4%
- John Fleming - Republican 10.2%
- David Duke - Republican 5.1%
- Rob Maness - Republican 3.4%
- Derrick Edwards - Democrat 0.5%
- Gary Landrieu - Democrat 0.3%
- MV "Vinny" Mendoza - Democrat 0.3%
- Joshua Pellerin - Democrat 0.2%
- Peter Williams - Democrat 0.2%
- Beryl Billiot - Independent -
- Joseph Cao - Republican -
- Thomas Clements - Libertarian -
- Donald “Crawdaddy” Crawford - Republican -
- LeRoy Gilliam - Independent -
- Troy Hebert - Independent -
- William Robert “Bob” Lang, Jr - Other -
- Kaitlin Marone - Independent -
- Charles Marsala - Republican -
- Abhay Patel - Republican -
- Gregory Taylor, Jr - Other -
- Arden Wells - Independent -
- Undecided (NOT READ) 13.4%
The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. The margin of error for the poll was less than four points.