Polls, polls and more polls

sam_hanna_jrElection day is less than a month away.

Nov. 4 to be exact.

Apparently no one gives a flip.

That’s the least we can discern from a Pew Research Center poll released last week.

According to Pew, only 15 percent of the American people are closely following the midterm elections. In referencing the midterm elections, we of course are talking about the 2014 U.S. House and U.S. Senate races, which, as you might expect, are occurring midway through a presidential term, or in between the previous presidential race and the next one. Hence, the word midterm is applicable.

Hopefully more than 15 percent of the people in Louisiana are paying close attention to the House and Senate races here. A few of them are very important, including the House races in the 5th District and 6th District as well as the Senate race where Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking a fourth term, which appears to be a very iffy proposition for Landrieu at this time.

While the disturbing findings in Pew’s poll sink in, we have another poll to contemplate and this one is a bit closer to home.

Cygnal, a political and communications firm based in Montgomery, Ala., conducted a thorough poll on the 5th District congressional race about two weeks ago. Widely respected in political circles, Cygnal surveyed more than 500 mostly likely voters. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

The questions presented to voters in the poll were straight-forward, and a healthy balance of white, black, Latino, male and female voters were weighed in the survey. A no-nonsense poll would be the appropriate description for Cygnal’s survey.

According to Cygnal, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo is leading in the 5th District race with some 19 percent of the projected vote. Congressman Vance McAllister, the incumbent, was trailing close behind at 17 percent, but McAllister’s showing in the Cygnal poll represented a steep decline from the 27 percent of the projected vote for McAllister that a Glascock Group survey found in early August. A second Glascock poll in September pegged McAllister at 20 percent.

Without a doubt, McAllister is slipping. He’s not beaten yet, but he’s certainly on the slide and he can thank himself for being in the position that he’s in today.

Mayo’s lead in a field of nine candidates shouldn’t surprise anyone. The mayor is the only Democrat in the race and the only African-American as well. Some 33 percent of the 5th District is African-American. With a slew of white, male Republicans in the field, like McAllister, it’s only natural that the sole African-American Democrat would be the frontrunner.

Mayo is in the lead now, but he faces an almost impossible task of winning the run-off in December, unless his opponent is McAllister. Still, even with a wounded opponent like McAllister, Mayo would face an uphill challenge to say the least.

The surprise of the Cygnal poll centered on Zach Dasher, a Republican from Calhoun who is
the nephew of Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.

Considered a long shot at best just weeks ago by yours truly, Dasher, according to the Cygnal poll, is running third with some 13 percent of the projected vote. That’s a far cry from the single-digit support for Dasher that a Glascock poll revealed a month ago.

Dasher is moving for the obvious reasons. He does a good job of articulating a conservative message, he appears fairly well informed and he’s good on television. His pretty wife and beautiful children are pluses, too.

Is that enough to make him a congressman? Who knows?

While Dasher seems to be picking up steam, Dr. Ralph Abraham’s showing in the Cygnal poll was troubling. With 11 percent of the projected vote in the Cygnal survey, Abraham, a Republican too, obviously has lost some ground if the 22 percent tally in a Glascock poll in September was accurate in the first place.

Yet, Abraham has time to make a strong push for a slot in the run-off, but he needs to sharpen his message. Immediately.

A good TV commercial for a change would be helpful, too.

Sam Hanna, Jr. is publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, and he serves in an editorial/management capacity with The Concordia Sentinel and The Franklin Sun, three newspapers owned and operated by the Hanna family. Hanna can be reached by calling (318) 805-8158 or by emailing him at samhannajr@samhannajr.com.

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