Polls show Edwards with wide lead over GOP challengers

'Undecided' voters could decide between re-election or runoff

Polls are an important -- and fun -- part of politics.

Candidates nervously study them during their campaign to see if they are surging or falling or “plateau-ing.” If the numbers are falling, they scurry to determine what went wrong and how to reverse the trend.

Interested observers like to see what the “pulse” of the voters is at any one time and play political prophet based on those numbers.

Of course, even “scientific” polls can be severely flawed.

The only poll that matters is the one taken at the polls on election day.

So, more for entertainment value than political prognostication, we looked at a few of the latest polls.

JMC, MASON-DIXON

The latest statewide polls indicate Gov. John Bel Edwards could win re-election in this Saturday’s primary election. Both early October polls, JMC Analytics and Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, showed Edwards with 45 percent of those expressing a choice for governor.

Republicans Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham were second and third, respectively, in both polls. JMC had the businessman leading the congressman 20 percent to 19 percent. Mason-Dixon had Rispone with a 22 to 17 percent lead for second place.

The difference between a runoff and a first-round victory for Edwards depends on the undecided voters.

JMC found 14 percent of those polled had not decided on who they would vote for. Mason-Dixon had only 10 percent in that category.

If the undecideds are also anti-incumbent, there will be a runoff. If they stay home, the poll results without those voters would see Edwards re-elected with 52 percent in the JMC poll and on the fence at 50 percent in the Mason-Dixon survey.

A candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote of all ballots cast to win the election. If no candidate gets the magic number, the top two candidates advance to the runoff on Nov. 16.

WE ASK AMERICA

A third poll taken in late September had similar results.

We Ask America polling organization found 47 percent in favor of Edwards, 23 percent for Rispone, 17 percent for Abraham and 11 percent undecided.

As with the other two, if at least 8 percent of those polled choose a challenger, Edwards is forced into a runoff.

If they divide their votes equally among the top three candidates, the incumbent either has a narrow win or a narrow miss.

If those 11 percent stay home to watch the game on TV, he wins re-election with almost 53 percent of the votes cast.

REMINGTON GROUP

The Remington Group conducted a poll for the Abraham campaign in late September that found Abraham leading Rispone 22 percent to 20 percent with Edwards leading the pack at 47 percent and 8 percent undecided.

That would give Edwards a 51 percent share if the undecideds don’t vote. Under that scenario, Abraham would receive almost 24 percent and Rispone would have almost 22 percent of the votes.

The Remington polls for Abraham indicate the 5th District congressman losing ground to his fellow Republican over the past month.

In a Sept. 10-11 poll, Remington had Edwards with 45 percent, Abraham with 27 and Rispone at 19 percent.

In a June 1-2 poll, Remington reported 42 percent for Edwards, 34 percent for Abraham and 8 percent for Rispone.

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