Survey participants were selected from a list prepared by RRH; participants consist of third district voters who voted in the October 2011 gubernatorial election. This restriction served as a preliminary screen for high-propensity voters most likely to turn out in a runoff scenario. The survey consisted of 7 questions designed by RRH and PMI. Respondents who did not complete the survey, or indicated a disinclination to vote on Dec. 8 were not included in the results; this action reduced the number of surveys from 901 to 600. Compared to the total results, this action had the effect of lowering the undecided percentage without significantly changing the relative positions of Landry or Boustany. The only weighting was for age; all other demographic values were found to be in what RRH considers reasonable ranges for a special election between two Republicans in this seat. The survey is older, whiter, more conservative, and more Romney-supporting than the district as a whole - but this scenario is consistent with a low-turnout election in which Democrats are unlikely to be excited about their choice between two conservative Republicans.
These results are welcome news for the Boustany campaign, as the 51-33 lead shows a similarly dominant position as an internal poll by POS released several weeks ago, which had Boustany leading Landry 56-29. Boustany holds commanding leads among almost all demographics, including Conservatives and Romney voters. Unless we see a dramatic momentum shift in the final week, or Landry can turn out his voters much more effectively, Boustany appears nearly assured of a fifth term.
The matchup between two Republican incumbents in the third district was precipitated by combining Lousiana's old third and seventh districts in a form that largely left intact the prior seventh district, based around Lafayette and Lake Charles. In the "jungle primary" on November 6, Rep. Charles Boustany topped Rep. Jeff Landry by a 45-30 margin, with 21% going to Democrat Ron Richard. This result, however, was seen as a victory for Landry; at the time, there was still a significant question over whether he could even force a runoff.
In a race between two Republicans with party activists likely to dominate a low-turnout runoff election, Landry has attempted to stake out a claim to the more conservative mantle. Landry's more conservative positioning has allowed Boustany to build large leads with Liberals, Moderates, and Obama voters. On the right, Boustany lost the trust of some conservative activists after supporting a failed Democratic-backed redistricting plan that would have put the seat of Rep. John Fleming (R-Minden) at risk of a Democratic takeover. However, that anger does not seem to have translated to the general electorate, as Boustany leads Landry among Conservatives and Romney voters, though Landry is stronger with these groups than he is overall. And despite only needing his own territory to win, Boustany seems to be doing as good a job of winning votes on Landry's home turf in the old third district (Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes) as Landry is on Boustany's home turf, the old seventh, which comprises the remainder of the district. In particular, Landry has failed to dent Boustany's strong lead in Calcasieu Parish, where Boustany leads Landry by a 4:1 margin despite neither Congressman being a native of the area. The one bright spot for the Landry campaign appears to be young voters, where he leads; however, these voters comprise a tiny portion of the electorate in a low-turnout election. Landry's only possible path to victory is by turning out young voters and voters in his home territory around New Iberia at a much higher rate than their percentage of survey respondents.
Accordingly, RRH is changing our race rating for this contest from Lean Boustany to Safe Boustany.
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Here are the results of our demographic and ideological questions:
Age is the only one where weighting was used to modify the raw data.
|2012 Pres||Obama||Romney||Someone Else||Non-Voter|
Were there a Democrat running, this would be a heavily Republican-leaning sample, but we think that the presence of two well right-of-center candidates has depressed Democratic enthusiasm roughly enough that the electorate is in line with these figures.
Here is the geographic breakdown relative to the total number of people in each parish. The survey figures jive pretty well with the total population, with Calcasieu's slight undersampling (and the Lafayette/Iberia oversampling) likely showing decreased enthusiasm in the west. This condition may be due to both candidates being from the eastern Lafayette side of the district.
|Parish Figures||% of district population||% of survey respondents|
Here are the demographic and ideological crosstabs. Note Landry does better with men, more conservative voters, and especially with younger voters, while Boustany has the opposite trend.
And here are the geographic crosstabs:
|By Parish||Survey %||Boustany||Landry||Undecided||Nov. Result|
|Cameron||0.4||No Data||No Data||No Data||B59 L28|
|Jefferson Davis||5.7||56||18||26||B51 L26|
|St. Landry||0.5||No Data||No Data||No Data||B53 L32|
|St. Martin||6.7||24||69||7||L47 B29|
|St. Mary||7.0||28||57||15||L47 B19|
|All from old 3rd||24.8||23||65||12||L46 B24|
|All from old 7th||75.2||61||22||17||B51 L24|
Maps - Topline performance
Dark Blue = Boustany > 60%
Light Blue = Boustany > 50%
Light Green = Landry > 50%
Dark Green = Landry > 60%
White = Insufficent Data
As you can see, each Rep. is doing well on his home turf, especially the big parishes of Lafayette and Calcasieu, which together make up more than half the district. That's in a nutshell why Boustany is leading. But it even goes deeper than that. Let's compare the margin on election day to the margin in the polling -
Dark Blue = Boustany wins by more than November
Light Blue = Boustany wins by about the same or less than November
Light Green = Landry wins by about the same or less than November
Dark Green = Landry wins by more than November
White = Insufficent Data
It looks very similar, which means that each man is not only winning his home turf, he's winning it by a bigger margin that he did on Nov. 6th. Landry really needed a lot more light blue and dark green on this map to have any hope. Boustany's ability to turn out his home voters very effectively appears to be sealing the deal here.