Control of the Senate could be in limbo until December if a runoff is needed to settle the race
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor
NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — The U.S. Senate race in Louisiana appears headed for a runoff that’s still to close to call, which could leave the balance of power in the Senate up in the air until December, according to a new poll.
The CNN/ORC International poll released September 28 shows incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu at 43 percent among likely voters, ahead of GOP U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy at 40 percent and Rob Maness, a Republican with Tea Party backing, at 9 percent.
In Louisiana, all candidates, regardless of party, run in the November “jungle” primary. If no one reaches a majority, the top two vote getters meet in a runoff December 6.
With a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, the poll indicates that a runoff between Landrieu and Cassidy is likely.
In a hypothetical match up in the runoff, Cassidy was the choice of 50 percent to 47 percent for Landrieu, which was within the poll’s margin of error. However, among the larger pool of registered voters, Landrieu led Cassidy 51 percent to 45 percent — an indication that increasing voter turnout may be key to Landrieu’s survival.
The Louisiana race is one of eight contested Senate races across the South that are likely to decide which party controls the Senate.
A runoff would be nothing new for Landrieu. She faced a runoffs in 1996 and 2002 and survived both times.
The poll also found that just 37 percent of likely voters in Louisiana approved of President Obama’s job performance, compared to 61 percent who disapproved.