Man Without Qualities

Saturday, November 08, 2003

As Kentucky and Mississippi Go, So Goes Louisiana?

The election is not until November 15, but it looks that way now:

Republican Bobby Jindal, leading Democrat Kathleen Blanco by five points, was nearing the 50 percent majority with likely voters, according to a Daily Advertiser/Louisiana Gannett poll taken this week. Forty-eight percent favored Jindal, and 43 percent Blanco.

That poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, so it is hardly dispositive of current sentiment. But other recent polls seem to be indicating the same thing: here (Jindal leads Blanco by seven points) and here (Jindal leads Blanco by four points), for example.

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reports:

University of Louisiana at Monroe political scientist Pearson Cross said Blanco needs a greater percentage of white votes.

“Right now, Kathleen Blanco is not at the magic number that will get a Democrat elected,” Cross said. “She is at 29 percent, but needs to be at 32 to 34 of the white vote, and a very strong black turnout that votes for her.”

“Louisiana is getting more and more like the rest of the country,” Cross said. “I cannot detect in these poll numbers any effect of Jindal’s ethnicity, but you can see there may be some anti-woman backlash among black males. Black males are significantly stronger in their support for Jindal than black females.”

The Republican has already won considerable African American support, including from the Mayor of New Orleans and the state's North-Central Black Caucus and perhaps 17% of the African-American votes.

That 17% number should send chills down the spine of every Democratic office holder. It is the same number that demolished Gray Davis and the Democrats in California, as I noted in the aftermath of the recent California recall election:

While 17% African-American support won't by itself get anyone elected, that level of support from such voters for a Republican should be alarming to Democrats - who normally bank on African Americans favoring Democrats by a much wider margin. Worse for Democrats: that Mr. Bustamante - the only Democrat in the field - received only 65% of the African American vote should be seen as a major Democratic disaster. ... Democrats such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore counted on receiving more than 90% of the African American vote. For example, if a Republican presidential candidate were to carry 17% of the African American vote - or a Democrat were to carry as little as 65% of that vote - the consequence would almost certainly be a huge Republican win.

All of which makes it even stranger that the Democratic Party routinely treats its African American constituency with such an amazing lack of respect.

MORE: A terrific report from RealClear.

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