LA-Sen: Vitter Leads Melancon By 10

Rasmussen (10/5, likely voters, no trend lines):

Charlie Melancon (D): 36

David Vitter (R-inc): 46

Some other: 5

Not sure: 13

Charlie Melancon (D): 33

Jay Dardenne (R): 46

Some other: 6

Not sure: 15

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Rasmussen’s first look at the Louisiana Senate race shows us about what I’d expect — Republican incumbent David Vitter holds a 10-point edge over Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon. In fact, it’s the same spread as a 47-37 internal poll by Anzalone Liszt last month that the Melancon camp was sufficiently pleased with to release. Vitter is below 50, so it’s not an insurmountable edge, but one that indicates the severity of Louisiana’s current lean toward the Republicans (and probably also that Melancon isn’t known well in the northern parts of the state, which is something that can be fixed over the next year).

Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne hasn’t made any moves toward running against Vitter in the primary, although he’s the one prominent figure left in the state who hasn’t ruled it out either. It turns out he matches up a little better against Melancon than does Vitter (apparently, not getting caught in a prostitution ring is worth an additional 3% in Louisiana). Also, apparently, being a Democrat is a bigger sin in Louisiana these days than being a john, if you compare Vitter’s 56/34 favorable vs. Melancon’s 43/39.

RaceTracker Wiki: LA-Sen

41 thoughts on “LA-Sen: Vitter Leads Melancon By 10”

  1. so I would consider this a best-case snapshot for Vitter right now. This will be an uphill battle, but not a hopeless one.

  2. That is my first question.

    The DSCC needs to play offense in a least a few places against incumbents. LA and NC to be sure.    

  3. Dodd might lose when he has been cleared off all wrong doing yet Vitter probably skates. As I said sickening.

  4. Old adage of Louisiana politics: All things being equal, Cajuns vote for Cajuns.

    Let’s pray that holds true for ole Congressman Mel-lawn-sawn come election day.

    Also, a prostitution scandal is just -3% in popularity in Louisiana? Hilarious. Of course, I guess the survey probably used the name Senator Vitter instead Diaper Dave Vitter.  

  5. Vitter for being a hypocritical backbencher and Dodd for his scandals with that mortgage company. He may have been cleared by the Senate panel but the stuff with Countrywide still stinks. Not to mention he was chair of the Banking Committee when Wall Street firms were getting away with murder. Of course its not all his fault, but I like to be consistent. If this were a republican I’d feel he/she didn’t deserve reelection.

  6. Chris Dodd has earned the right to run for re-election.  He has been a champion for good, liberal causes for decades.  If some wants to primary him fine, but he deserves better treatment than he is currently getting.  That is for sure.

    Charlie Melancon will give Vitter a hell of a fight.  We’ve got the small business owner this time and they’ve got the Ivy League lawyer and of course it’s okay to be Ivy League when you’re a partisan hack like David Vitter.  

  7. That Vitter hasn’t been critically wounded by his indiscretions has been known for a while.  That Melancon is only ten points behind, despite limited statewide visibility and being a Democrat at what will (hopefully) be the nadir of the party’s polling (especially in conservative Louisiana), seems quite promising.

    Still a very uphill climb, but not at all discouraging.

  8. I think Dodd should probably retire. But he certainly didn’t do anything criminal like Vitter. Particularly when you consider the family values angle. What pisses me off is a blue state seeing the faults yet the red state goes merrily along simoly because he is a Republican. It is nauseating.

  9. But politics so often involves choosing the lesser evil. The fact that someone is better than a horrible, extremist hypocrite doesn’t make him unworthy of criticism.

  10. The goal of a representative democracy is to represent the people who sent you there.  It certainly should not be to vote like Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin in my estimation.  

  11. If we have the right to criticize the government of Iran, where we have no vote, I have the right to criticize the senator from Louisiana, where I have no vote.

  12. Louisiana is a state that is becoming more Republican-friendly as the years go by.  We can’t lose sight over the demographics of a state.  If, heaven forbid, a conservative Democrat was ever elected in a state like Utah, Idaho, or Wyoming, I would definitely loosen the leash and allow that Democrat some slack (I’m willing to let Mark Begich mark his own turf in Alaska.  We need him on some key votes).  While Louisiana hasn’t reached the level of those states, it’s pretty darn close to the same mindset as Alabama or Mississippi.

    As far as Lincoln goes, I’m not that upset with her voting record.  She’s made some calculated decisions that I might not like, but she’s a politician that knows when to not support the Democratic majority.  My only issue with Lincoln is that she’s not very good at communication.  She comes off somewhat wishy-washy on many issues.  However, looking at the big picture, I’d prefer a Lincoln who will be with us 60% of the time rather than an ultra-conservative that will be with us 0% of the time.

  13. However I would rather have an independent voice in the United States Senate like Charlie Melancon or Blanche Lincoln for that matter as opposed to someone who just carries water for a “reform” agenda.  Of course you’re talking to a guy who voted for Jim Leach and despises Dave Loebsack for his overtly partisan voting record.  

  14. Nothing we get from Louisiana is going to be worth much good and any Democrat elected there will always be in a state of electoral vulnerability.  Let’s top beating our heads against the wall to elect a senator who won’t be there when he’s most needed yet will always need money come election year.

  15. Even in red LA, the Landrieu name is still enough for statewide, just not for mayor of New Orleans. Mary Landrieu doesn’t have the best job approval ratings, but she continues to win re-election. I think the people here know that she can almost vote with ya’ll on every issue, and still win. Plus, how do we know she won’t retire in 2014, to let Mitch move up? By 2014, he will have been Lt. Governor for almost 13 years (assuming he runs for re-election)  

  16. So you’d rather have a Republican Senator for another 6 years (or even more)who will block any form of Democratic legislation than a conservative Democrat who will support Democratic legislation at least half of the time?  We shouldn’t lose sight that the Republicans (sans the Maine Senators) have basically decided to fight all progressive legislation that is supported by the Democrats.

    As far as beating our heads against the wall on a vulnerable Democratic Senator, I’m willing to live with that.  Remember, Ben Nelson of Nebraska was supposed to be vulnerable in 2006, but he was easily re-elected.  I’m sure he will be considered vulnerable again in 2012, but he should be re-elected again.  He’s probably the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, but he has helped us out on some key legislation over the years.  

    It’s better to have a Senator that will support us half the time as opposed to a Senator who will be behind us zero percent of the time.

  17. I would rather have my enemies in front of me where I can see them than behind me where I can’t.  

    I would rather have a cohesive party that can formulate a clearer platform and message instead of one with pieces so diametrically opposed to one another than nothing can get done and no message can get disseminated.  

    I would rather not have conservatives from within the party water down, stall, or kill progressive legislation.  Instead, I would rather have a cohesive party craft a good bill that will help people and make them remember why people turn to the Democrats.  Because, after all, you can only get so far by saying the Republicans are bad.  And “We won’t fuck you over as hard” isn’t a compelling slogan.

    I would rather Democrats be able to criticize Republicans for their misanthropic policies without looking like hypocritical, petty partisans instead of having Republicans use conservative Democrats as political human shields (“Democrat X voted that way, too.”).  In other words, I would rather not see “It’s Okay if You’re a Democrat.”

    I would rather not see the Democratic Party spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to defend a Senator who won’t be there when we really need them either because they really don’t agree with the bill or because they’re trying to placate a conservative constiutency.

    And I think your Nebraska analogy is probably inaccurate.  Look at the other Louisiana seat.  Despite all the running to the right, Landrieau is constantly vulnerable.  Or look at Hollings in South Carolina.  He ended his career constantly vulnerable, only barely winning.

  18. But we don’t need to fall in the trap of making the decent the enemy of the perfect.  

    As far as a cohesive Democratic party goes, it’s not going to happen any time soon.  The Democratic party is a big tent party, and as a result we are prone to having dissent among the ranks.  The only way the party will become “cohesive” is if the Republicans win the next few elections in a landslide.  There will be fewer Democrats in Congress, and there will be less representation of our progessive legislation.

    I’ll take a Melancon 50% of the time over a Vitter who will never support any of our causes.  While Melancon may not vote with us on some important issues, we can probably count on him on others.  

  19. Especially when there’s a huge cost to the crumbs.  We seriously need to stop settling for someone who votes with us maybe 50% of the time, especially when that 50% is usually when we don’t really need it.  We’ve got to stop settling for anyone with a D beside it’s name.  

  20. I agree with you that cost should be considered on each race.  It would be irresponsible not to do so.  Very valid point.

    As far as the 50% goes, we need them to vote for cloture on key legislation.  There are Democratic senators willing to vote for cloture but will vote against the actual bill itself.  So while a guy like Melancon may not vote for the bill, he helps the bill be voted on by voting on cloture so the bill will get an up and down vote.

    As far as Vitter goes, Melancon is much better.  I don’t like our chances here, but we can at least be to our advantage to press this issue.  Vitter is a horrible Senator.  Melancon will probably be somewhere in the realm of a Lincoln or a Landrieu.    

  21. We hold 60 seats, of the remaining states, only a mere handful of blue states don’t have dems in the senate.

    The remaining states are mostly red country. Are we just going to write off all the rest of the states and just give up? or should at least try to run some moderates to center rights in the places like Wyoming, Idaho, etc and be somewhat competitive.

    Lunsford’s challenge along with senate Races in Mississippi and Georgia did at least have the effect of draining Republican resources that could have gone to other states.

  22. If Melancon does win, I will register my disappointment when he doesn’t vote the way I want him to.

    But it will be disappointment in the “intramural” sense, as he is and would be a part of our “big tent”.

    And I would likely continue to support him overall, as he would be a great improvement over Vitter.

  23. Melancon is not someone that I will like all the time, but at least I can like him “some of the time”.  I rank Vitter with a guy like Sessions from Alabama.  If Melancon wins in 2010, and then loses or retires in 2016 and a Republican takes over, that Republican probably couldn’t be any worse than Vitter.

  24. My point being that, if you’re going to criticize Republicans, the majority of whom come from far right districts, for being anti-choice, anti-education, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-working class, anti-middle class, anti-healthcare, misanthropic warmongerers, then don’t deflect critcism of Democrats who take the same positions (or some of them) by talking about representative democracy.

  25. who are not paid agents of the insurance and banking industries and do things for the benefit of the people. Whether they are overtly partisan or not is not an issue for me; whether they do right or wrong is the issue.

    I am considerably to your left, but on a moral basis. If I were living 100 years ago, I’d be an ardent Republican. Ideology is important; the name of the party is not.

  26. The next two cycles after this one will be especially difficult for the D brand in the Senate, just from the numbers up for re-election.

    Any losses in 2010 make it quite a bit more likely that we’re returned to minority status in 2014.

    However, if we can retain the majority through that election cycle, Ds will be fine longer term, courtesy of demographics.

  27. By the 30 states Obama did best in to theoretically get the best possible 60 Dem senators you find in reality there are ten Republicans plus Lieberman within that and ten Democrats in the McCain states. No wonder they find it so difficult to get 60 votes!

  28. Especially Louisiana, which has been bleeding Democratic support for several years.  Winning those seats next year puts us in a situation of defending two more seats in already unfriendly by increasingly moreso territory in a presidential year, draining resources from other seats in more sustainable areas.  While it helped to spread that map last year, it doesn’t always work that way.  We can get spread thin, too, especially when Democratic fundraising comes down.

  29. And we can’t get things done with conservadems gumming up the works or watering things down or delaying their effective dates.  We can’t keep blaming Republicans for being obstructionists when we have so many Democrats for doing the same thing.  Had those Democrats voted like Democrats, we’d get things passed.

  30. To me, it sounds like you’re saying:

    We can get more done in the Senate if there were more R wingnuts in the Senate

    – especially if they replaced Ds who vote with us say 50% of the time.

    Therefore, if we have fewer Ds, we’re more likely to retain the majority.

    And that makes no sense to me, so I’m guessing I don’t understand what you’re saying.

  31. Down by ten, and a whole scandal to hammer on for a year.

    We want to run against Vitter, that is the one clear message.  

    It would be nice if some minor figure primaried Vitter, but lost.  If a major figure primiries him and beats him, then we are toast.  That seems unlikely at this point though.  It’d be great if some winger state Senator took a flyer at him.

    And congrats to Melancon for having the backbone to take on a wounded GOP incumbent in a red state.  He is sadly the exception to the rule of “spineless Dems” thus far this cycle.

  32. Melancon has to have arguments other than a mere personal scandal. He has to argue that Vitter’s votes have ill-served the people of Louisiana. It’s not clear to me what alternatives Melancon is proposing, though, as far right as he is for still being a Democrat.

  33. Removing the Blue Dogs/DLCers:

    Makes it easier to formulate and disseminate a platform and message as it’s easier to get people on the same page when they’re closer to each other.  Having sides that are so diametrically opposed to one another makes this damn near impossible.

    It also cuts down on disruptions to that message that come when Democrats use Republican talking points, something that sometimes/often evolves into a “Democrats in disarray” narrative.

    With a clearer message and platform, it makes it easier to rally people to your side.

    With fewer Democrats voting and acting like Republicans, it makes it easier to illustrate a clear difference between the parties and to give a clearer reason of why people should vote Democratic and not Republican.  This is done by both not having Democrats voting for destructive conservative policies (e.g. Iraq, Bush tax cuts) or by destroying/voting against progressive policies (e.g. Lily Ledbetter, SCHIP, healthcare reform).

    It also makes it easier to go after the Republicans without having to deal with “Democrats supported it too” and “Even not all Democrats support it.”  

    It removes recalcitrant Democrats from committee posts so progressive legislation

    So, my point is addition by subtraction.  We become stronger by being able to rally around core issues, pass an agenda, show a real difference between us and the conservatives, and overall give people a reason to vote Democratic.  That’s how we build something.  We let the Republicans get forced further toward an ideology that has failed, toward homophobia, xenophobia, blind worship of the free market, and climate change denial.  And while they do that, we pound them for doing it.

    We build the party by being different policy-wise from the Republicans, not the same, not a watered down version, not a few crumbs of change.  And by showing that we (the Democratic base) are no longer going to take being sold out, maybe we can force some of the conservadems left.

  34. I think it’s pretty cool how a liberal Dem in NC can be on the same wave length as a liberal Dem from NY.

    You have figured me out.

  35. It really sounds like you want a 3rd party.

    A progressive party like you suggest could gain significant power in a country where there are three viable parties.

    Perhaps the big flaw of the 2 party system is how both have to appeal to the muddled middle, which may mess up the clarity of the message.

    Now I understand what you’re saying, and appreciate where you’re coming from. However, I don’t believe what you suggest is viable in the current two-party political system.

  36. What I’m saying is that there needs to be a clear cut difference between the parties.  I’m saying that instead of chasing after some view of the middle, we need to bring the middle to us by showing that we (both Democrats and liberals) are better instead of saying we’re less bad (or, when I’m madder that we’re going to fuck over less hard), by articulating a view, by redefining conservatism and liberalism.  

    The Republicans have dominated the the last two and a half decades by becoming more cohesive, by tapping into angst, by creating a clearer message, by delivering on their priorities, by building a base willing to work their asses off, and by rallying people to them.  It may have lost them people like Lowell Weicker, but they gained a lot more.  And they lost not because they were so coherent; they lost because Americans finally realized their ideas sucked.

    So, what I’m saying is we need to stop emulating disasterous Republican/conservative policies and start emulating some of their successful (for them) strategies.

  37. While I disagree with your approach – I think the stronger way to argue your case is w/r/t turnout. The R machine had its success over elections between 1980-2004 courtesy of expanded turnout from its base. The “clearer message” did not appeal to the middle. I suggest that you look at the numbers, and see what kind of expanded turnout is possible.

    To get to where you’re suggesting, the D party would need it’s own version of a ’64 – followed by a “purge” of moderate elements. While I’m mostly progressive, I think I would be purged in that case, at least judging from the calls on our beloved “Great Orange Satan”. It didn’t happen in the D party after ’72, in part an unintended consequence of Watergate.

    And after what Bush almost “accomplished,” such a “cleansing” would lead to consequences to our Democracy that we just avoided during his terms.

    A different risk of such an approach is seen in the wilderness suffered by the UK Labor Party during and after the Michael Foot era.

    I don’t want to be in a party where everyone has identical POVs. To me, that is not Democratic – in both meanings of the word.

    Furthermore, that would lead to the trojan horse of the so-called “angry middle” – so-called Perotistas who were so easily co-opted by today’s wingnuts.

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