David Vitter leads Charlie Melancon 46-37 in his bid for reelection, making him just the second incumbent Republican Senator PPP has found with a lead in only single digits so far this year.
Louisiana voters are pretty narrowly divided on Vitter's job performance with 45% giving him good marks and 43% saying they disapprove of him. His approval when PPP last looked at the state in July was 44/38. Since then independents have turned against Vitter just as they've turned against politicians of both parties throughout the country. What was a positive 48/30 approval spread with them has now shifted to a negative 40/48 one.
Melancon is still not very well known to voters in the state. A 37% plurality have no opinion about him one way or the other, only slightly down from 42% who said they didn't know him last summer. Those who do have an opinion about him lean negative with 34% seeing him unfavorably to a 29% with a positive view. That's largely because Republicans are more unified in their dislike (44%) of him than Democrats are in their favor (36%.)
The nine point lead for Vitter represents a slight tightening since last July, when he had a 12 point advantage at 44-32. Nevertheless it still looks like an uphill battle for Melancon. Although he's been making efforts to separate himself from the President it's still an open question whether any Republican incumbents are going to lose this year in places where Barack Obama's approval is under 40%. In Louisiana it's a 37/57 spread. But this race remains one to watch since it is, along with Richard Burr's seat, one of the two where it looks like Democrats have at least a fighting chance to beat an incumbent.
Full results here