New Louisiana Poll Has John Kennedy Easily Walking Back Into Office

Senator John Kennedy, who recently made waves with his “Call A Crackhead” ad, is poised to walk back into office with no need for a runoff, according to the first major public poll of Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race.


Public Policy Polling, a progressive firm, has Kennedy winning outright in November with 53 percent of the vote. He’s 37 points ahead of second-place candidate, Luke Mixon, who comes in at 16 percent. In Louisiana’s jungle primary system, all candidates are on the same ballot, regardless of primary. There is a runoff only if one of the candidates can’t break 50 percent.

Kennedy is the most popular politician in Louisiana and is favored to get closer to 60 percent on election day.

Gary Chambers, a black Democrat who went viral over the summer with his online ads, was previously leading Mixon in fundraising early on, is polling a distant third to Mixon at 8 percent. Syrita Steib, the third Democratic candidate, polls at 6 percent. The remaining 16 percent of voters in the poll would either vote for someone else (2 percent) or are not sure who they would vote for (14 percent).

John Kennedy
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool

Chambers, in particular, is an interesting subject. He recently blew up on the state’s Democratic Party for endorsing all three of Kennedy’s opponents, accusing the state’s Democratic chairperson of being a racist.


“Katie Bernhardt told me last year she didn’t believe a Black man can win in Louisiana,” he told the USA Today Network at the time. “The Democratic Party isn’t racist, but Katie Bernhardt may be.”

Part of Chambers’ problem in this poll may be the fact that it undersamples black voters, who make up more than a third of the state but only make up about 30 percent of respondents.

It’s also laughable to put forward a poll that has Republican respondents at just over one-third of the total, when Louisiana is one of the reddest states in the country.

Mixon, who is currently in second place, is backed by Louisiana’s only statewide elected Democrat, Governor John Bel Edwards. The campaign team that ran Edwards’ campaigns in the state is also the team behind Mixon, and while he struggled in fundraising, PPP’s poll suggests he’s gaining popularity as the “moderate” Democrat in the race.

Mixon, and other Democrats, have been trying to hit Kennedy over his vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed Congress. And while that bill was supported and touted by Louisiana’s other Senator, Bill Cassidy, Kennedy outright rejected it. If Democrats wanted to make that a key issue against Kennedy, it does not appear to be working.


It may shift undecideds to the Democrats, but it didn’t hurt Kennedy at all. In fact, it appears to make people who support him more likely to vote for him. Voters in Louisiana typically understand that infrastructure is a state and local problem, not a national one. And Louisiana voters largely understand that the infrastructure bill was filled with a lot of things unrelated to infrastructure and they also opposed it.

It is likely not enough, however. Kennedy is more likely to get 57 to 60 percent of the vote on election day. 53 is pretty low given how much the state typically supports him.


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