A new, in-depth analysis of the closely-watched Louisiana Senate race shows that Republicans can cleanly defeat Sen. Mary Landrieu on Nov. 4 — saving millions of political dollars and putting the GOP one step closer to a Senate majority — but they need one thing to happen first: Third-place Republican candidate Rob Maness needs to bow out.
In a study exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller, data and analytics firm 0ptimus conducted an opinion-read of 5,711 likely voters to find out if a Republican dropping out of the Louisiana “jungle primary” would make a difference on Nov. 4; if the controversy over Landrieu’s residency is important to Louisiana voters; and what the GOP can do to win the race. (RELATED: Mary Landrieu And The Big Oopsie)
The strange situation is the product of Louisiana’s unusual general election process, during which any number of candidates can run on Nov. 4, and if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers compete in a Dec. 6 run-off. (RELATED: Maness Looks To Shake Up Louisiana Senate Race)
The Real Clear Politics polling average on Monday showed Landrieu ahead of Republican front-runner Rep. Bill Cassidy, 38 to 35.3, with Republican Rob Maness at 8 percent. 0ptimus’s polling of likely voters showed Maness playing even more of a spoiler, with 17.7 percent, and Cassidy and Landrieu at 35.9 and 37.8 percent, respectively, with 8.6 percent thoroughly undecided.
But this report goes further, asking “if Republican Rob Maness dropped out of the Senate race, would you be willing to support Republican Bill Cassidy?”
In that scenario, Cassidy’s share of the vote rises to between 46.2 and 49. 2 percent (17.5 percent say they are unsure, though it is fairly likely most of the unsure former Maness voters would support the Republican). “Without Maness, this race is nearly over,” the report reads. “In a worst-case scenario, Cassidy would only have to win 44 percent of undecideds to win [outright] in November, which the rest of this [report] will show is quite likely.”
That’s because unlike in, say, Massachusetts, Democrat Landrieu is going to be waging a very difficult fight to win over Louisiana’s undecided likely voters– a group that leans conservative.
Sixty percent of unsure voters, for example, consider Landrieu a resident of Washington, D.C., rather than Louisiana. And 34 percent of that number have a major issue with that.
Thirty-one percent of undecideds think that health care is the most important issue in the upcoming election, with 77 percent of those thinking “the country would be better off if Obamacare had never been passed.”