Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vitter vulnerable? Depends

Is David Vitter vulnerable? Our newest survey attacks that question from a number of different angles and the overall answer seems to be 'maybe.'

Just 38% of voters in the state say Vitter deserves to be reelected with 47% saying it's time to give someone else a chance. That's partly a reflection on Vitter, and partly indicative of the general anti-incumbent mood across the country right now.

When you pit Vitter against a generic Democrat though, he leads 44-38. And when you test him specifically against potential opponent Charlie Melancon, that advantage rises to 44-32.

That 44% seems to be the magic number when it comes to Vitter right now. His approval rating is also 44%, with 36% disapproving and the percentage of voters with a favorable opinion of him is 44% as well, compared to 39% who view him negatively.

So he's definitely below the 50% mark considered safe for an incumbent, but he's not that far below it and at least initially voters still prefer him to letting the seat change parties.

One thing that does seem increasingly clear is that Vitter is not all that vulnerable to a primary opponent. Even on the measure where he does weakest- whether he deserves another term or not- 56% of Republicans say yes. And that number rises to 62% on his approval rating.

Most voters in the state- 42%- don't know enough about Melancon yet to have formed an opinion about him.

Vitter really is in a pretty similar situation to where Mary Landrieu found herself a couple years ago. She polled in the 40s in a lot of early surveys against John Kennedy, raising Republican hopes that she could be defeated. But she still ended up winning by a solid if not spectacular margin. Whether Democrats can better take advantage of the opening they appear to have here only time will tell.

Full results here


Jeff said...

Very interesting numbers. Thanks for conducting this!

What sort of strategy do you think Democrats would need to employ to defeat Vitter? Voters do still seem a bit angry over his personal life, but not angry enough to throw him out. Reminding them of the prostitution scandal doesn't seem to me likely to move the numbers much- unless new information comes out, they seem to have made up their minds to be angry but not vengeful. Looking at these numbers,do you think that the prostitution scandal can hurt Vitter more than it already has?

Anonymous said...

Was the Depends in the headline meant to be a pun? How hillarious! Depends like in diapers and Vitter the man who likes to wear 'em!

Tom Jensen said...

haha it was not but I like the way you think.

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