Another Gov. Edwards?

I looked over at the headlines at Ten Miles Square this morning and saw a post from Martin Longman entitled “KY and LA Elections Spell Trouble For the GOP,” and thought “Huh! Louisiana? That’s some hopeful thinking.”

Turns out, though, Martin was just ahead of me in reading some political news, in this case a rather startling poll from WVLA/JMC Analytics:

Democrat John Bel Edwards has a 20% lead over Senator David Vitter in the Louisiana Gubernatorial runoff, according to a survey released today by WVLA and JMC Analytics.

The brand new, statewide poll results confirm something that hasn’t happened in 7 years: A Democratic Governor could take office in Louisiana.

Today, WVLA released a survey of 600 likely voters, conducted by JMC analytics. When asked who they’d vote for if the election were held today, 52% of people chose State Representative John Bel Edwards. 32% chose Senator David Vitter, and 16% were undecided.

These numbers are surprising because they show that John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, will pick up more votes from former Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne than David Vitter, a fellow Republican.

The WVLA poll also asked undecided voters if they had a preference between the two candidates. 54% of them leaned toward John Bel Edwards at this point, while 35% leaned toward David Vitter.

Yes, it’s just one poll with a relatively small sample, and before Republicans unite and start spending serious money on this race. Still, it’s never a good sign when an extremely well-known politician like U.S. Sen. David Vitter looks this weak; it’s not like he’s going to make up a 20% gap by improving his name ID.

Like Martin, I think it would be a pretty big deal if Democrats somehow won both of this year’s off-cycle gubernatorial elections. We’ll know about Kentucky tonight; as noted yesterday, Democrat Jack Conway has been maintaining a narrow lead in the polls, but national and state Republicans spent some major late money in an effort to drag their flawed candidate, Matt Bevin, over the line. Louisiana’s runoff isn’t until November 21. We’ll see if voters pour some cold water on the “Republicans totally dominating state elections” meme.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.