Another Senate poll, different results

WASHINGTON Democratic polling data released Tuesday shows U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La, leading her top Senate challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, by 10 percentage points.

The data from Public Policy Polling, which conducts polls mostly for Democrats, comes one day after two GOP polls showed Landrieu either leading by a smaller margin or trailing Cassidy entirely.

These polls are mostly about fundraising and building momentum, rather than educating the public, said elections analyst Stu Rothenberg, of The Rothenberg Political Reporter. This race will be determined next year, not 14 months away from the election, he said, adding that he has rated Landrieu’s 2014 reelection bid a “toss up.”

“I don’t need these numbers to know it’s going to be close. It’s always close,” Rothenberg said Tuesday. “People aren’t sitting on the edge of their chairs right now thinking about Mary Landrieu’s re-election.”

The Public Policy Polling summary stated: “If their Senate votes ended up being a referendum on the president, Landrieu’s margin would be tighter at 52/48” in Landrieu’s favor.

Even the Public Policy Polling summary acknowledges that it is “important to note that this 10 point lead for Landrieu is not likely to hold up.”

The data showed that 78 percent of the undecided voters in Louisiana disapprove of President Barack Obama, so they are likely to end up in the Republican column, even though Cassidy only has 51 percent statewide name recognition thus far.

In a two-person race, the PPP data shows Landrieu with 50 percent of the vote against 40 percent for Cassidy with 10 percent undecided.

If the other announced Republican is added to the mix, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of Madisonville, he receives 5 percent of the vote and the amount of undecided voters grows to 23 percent.

The PPP poll was conducted Aug. 16-Aug. 19 with 721 Louisiana voters through automated telephone surveying. The survey’s margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6 percent.

Another survey done by OnMessage, a GOP firm, was released Monday and had Landrieu leading in a two-person race with 45 percent of the vote versus 41 percent for Cassidy and 14 percent undecided.

OnMessage polled 800 Louisiana voters last week by phone and the survey had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percent.

But a survey also released Monday by Harper Polling, a relatively new GOP polling firm, had Cassidy leading with 47 percent of the vote compared with 45 percent for Landrieu and only 8 percent undecided. That poll surveyed 596 people in Louisiana last week with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.01 percent.

Rothenberg said he finds it hard to believe that Cassidy would lead at this point in the race given Cassidy’s relatively low name recognition.