While most of the Democratic effort in the midterms this year will be in limiting their losses, they did have hopes of a couple of pickups from the Republicans in the House and Senate. The Louisiana Senate seat currently held by David Vitter must have looked rather tempting, considering Vitter’s past peccadilloes and a recent scandal involving his aide. However, Louisiana voters don’t seem particularly perturbed by either, as Rasmussen discovers in its latest survey of likely voters:
Louisiana’s race for the U.S. Senate looks largely the same way it has since the beginning of the year, with incumbent Republican David Vitter continuing to earn over 50% of the vote in a state with unusually high Tea Party membership.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Louisiana finds Vitter, who is seeking a second six-year term, with 53% support. His Democratic challenger, Congressman Charlie Melancon, picks up 35% of the vote. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.
In April, Vitter posted a similar lead over Melancon. …
The survey was taken after news broke that a longtime Vitter aide had pled guilty to attacking an ex-girlfriend with a knife, a revelation some speculated might hurt the Republican’s campaign.
Louisiana voters apparently have more pressing issues on their minds, such as the unfolding disaster in the Gulf — and the economic disaster Barack Obama has planned for Gulf states in its wake. Vitter has thus far successfully painted Melancon with Obama’s oil-drilling moratorium, which Melancon insists he doesn’t support. The failure of the Gulf response to stem the disaster will weigh heavily on the midterms in all Gulf states, but perhaps especially in Louisiana.
The internals show how hard it will be for Melancon to get any closer to Vitter. Despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster, 79% support continued offshore drilling, and 72% support deep-water drilling. Almost the same percentage believe the Gulf situation to have either a major or devastating impact on the Gulf, so it’s not as though they don’t understand the stakes involved. They just don’t want the federal government to destroy what’s left of their economy after the one accident.
In case anyone thinks that this support for drilling is a strictly Republican affair, think again. Eighty-three percent of independents support offshore drilling, and 74% support deepwater drilling. In fact, Louisiana Democrats support offshore drilling by more than two to one (65%/25%) and deepwater drilling almost two to one (58/30). It’s not surprising that Vitter wins independents by a 55/18 margin, or that he gains 21% of the Democratic vote.
If Vitter’s lead remains this stable even in the wake of a scandal, it probably has less to do with Vitter himself and more likely hinges on the national politics and local economy involved.