Vitter Leads Landrieu, Dardenne in New Governor’s Poll

In polling both a large field of candidates for governor and a small one, a new statewide survey leaked to shows that U.S. Sen. David Vitter holds a small lead over New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

The poll was conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research for Dardenne’s campaign using a sample size of 800 likely voters. The margin of error is 3.5 percent.

In a three-way race with party ID provided, Vitter leads with 35 percent, followed by Landrieu at 29 percent and Dardenne at 22 percent.

When asked to score their job performances and provided with party ID, poll respondents put Vitter at 60 percent favorable and 22 percent unfavorable; Landrieu at 51 percent-18 percent; and Dardenne at 46 percent-6 percent.

The poll findings were originally released to donors during a conference call last month. It marks the first poll to include Landrieu, a Democrat currently running for re-election who has said he is not a candidate for governor.

The poll also tested a large primary field that broke down as follows:

— Vitter: 25 percent

— Landrieu: 20 percent

— Dardenne: 12 percent

— Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican: 9 percent

— Former congressman and Veterans Affairs Secretary Rodney Alexander, a Republican: 4 percent

— Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Democrat: 2 percent

— State Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite: 2 percent

— Advocate publisher John Georges, a Democrat: 2 percent

— Businessman Jim Bernhard, a Democrat: 1 percent

— State Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield: 1 percent

— Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, a Republican: 1 percent

In the event of an all-GOP runoff, the poll shows Vitter leading Dardenne, 40-36 percent.

A source said that many Dardenne supporters were encouraged that Vitter, despite this year’s positive press attention for his attacks against President Barack Obama, isn’t polling around 50 percent in trial runs. “He should be the de facto water-walker right now,” said a source involved with the conference call.

Donors were also told that Dardenne stands a chance of peeling off voters from Vitter when the money starts flowing and messaging gets serious. When the poll added a narrative to Dardenne, he overtook Vitter in a hypothetical runoff scenario by a large margin.

Cross-tabs for the WPA poll were not provided and pollster Chris Wilson was unable to comment Tuesday morning.

The WPA poll was put in the field Nov. 12-14, just one week after the most recent Southern Media and Opinion Research poll was conducted. The SMOR poll had Vitter placing first with 30 percent in what was an independent poll, followed by Kennedy at 19 percent; Dardenne, 18 percent; Edwards, 8 percent; and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, 2 percent.

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