Latest poll good news for Edwards, but is it good enough to avoid a runoff?

    Gov. John Bel Edwards leads his two Republican challengers by 7 points—47% to their combined 40%—in an independent statewide poll released today by Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat, who conducted the survey for a group of undisclosed private clients.

    But with 14% of voters undecided and the election is still a month away, it’s too soon to predict whether Edwards will win outright in the primary.

    “He’s in good shape,” says Pinsonat, who conducted the poll from among 500 chronic voters from Sept. 3-6. “If the election were held when this poll was taken he would probably be elected. But we still have one month to go.”

    Trailing Edwards with 24% of the vote is U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, followed by Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone with 16%.

    Among Republican voters, 42% said they would vote for Abraham, while 27% said they would support Rispone. Edwards picked up 15% of that Republican support, while another 15% were undecided or would not say.

    Among Democrats, 79% said they would vote for Edwards, compared to 10% for Abraham and 5% for Rispone.

    One statistic Pinsonat says to note is the governor’s job approval ratings, which are down from more than 60% last year to 56% in the recent poll. Among white voters, it’s even lower—42%.

    “Edwards is right where he needs to be to squeak by in the primary,” Pinsonat says. “But we have one month left and his job performance ratings among whites are not very strong. Can he hold on to his white voters in red state Louisiana?”

    The poll also looked at the race for insurance commissioner, the only other statewide contest on the Oct. 12 ballot. Perhaps surprisingly, longtime incumbent Jim Donelon has just 35% of support, compared to challenger Tim Temple’s 20% A hefty 45% of voters surveyed were undecided or would not say.

    “The only good news for Donelon is that his opponent, Tim Temple, remains unknown to the vast majority of Louisiana voters,” Pinsonat says.

    The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

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