EXCLUSIVE: Edwards leading the race in Gray TV poll, political analyst reacts

Updated: Oct. 7, 2019 at 7:02 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -A new exclusive Gray Television poll shows Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards with a sizable lead statewide over his two major Republican challengers, businessman Eddie Rispone and Congressman Ralph Abraham.

But the level of support Edwards received in the poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy on behalf of the six Gray TV stations in Louisiana does not show the incumbent governor having more than 50 percent support, which is needed to avoid a runoff.

The poll of 625 registered voters has a margin of error of 4 percent and was conducted from October 1 through October 4.

In the poll, Edwards received 45 percent support, Rispone 22 percent and Abraham 17 percent.

FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman delved into what the poll numbers suggest.

"At a high level, our big change in this poll is who's in the second spot, that's now Eddie Rispone, not Congressman Abraham,” said Sherman. “We've seen a very intense effort from both Gumbo PAC on behalf of the governor and then Eddie Rispone's campaign to attack Congressman Abraham and so far, it looks like it worked."

If none of the candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote, then two of them will meet in a November runoff.

When asked about a possible two-man contest between Edwards and Rispone, 51 percent of the respondents said they would support Edwards and 42 percent said they would vote for Rispone.

And if it’s an Edwards-Abraham match-up during a runoff, the poll shows Edwards with a slightly larger lead at 53 percent and Abraham at 38 percent.

Sherman said the dynamics of the race between the two Republicans changed in recent weeks.

"Eddie Rispone has now overtaken Congressman Abraham, he would be the one in that runoff if the governor doesn't get over 50 percent,” said Sherman.

Edwards is the sole remaining Democratic governor in the Deep South and his party is anxious to keep the seat, while Republicans at both the local and national level want to retake the Louisiana governorship.

Sherman noted that President Donald Trump will rally for both GOP candidates on the eve of the election. Vice President Mike Pence came to the New Orleans area on Saturday for a similar rally designed to drive more Republicans to the polls.

“We’re seeing all the top Republicans in town this week to boost voters’ turnout. What’s odd is that they still haven’t picked a candidate,” said Sherman.

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