- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Louisianans identify or lean Democratic than Republican, a shift away from the GOP’s edge in the past three years, according to Gallup data that offers a potential boon to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu as she tries to stave off an election challenge from Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.

State residents preferred the Democrats over Republicans, 45-41 percent, the pollsters said Tuesday.

Even so, that advantage is smaller than the 10-point edge Democrats enjoyed in 2008, when Ms. Landrieu won her third term.

Without forcing independents to lean one way, 35 percent of Louisianans identified as Democrats in the first half of 2014, compared to 33 percent as independents and 28 percent as Republicans.

Nationally, the breakdown was 30-percent Democrat, 40-percent independent and 25-percent Republican.

“Either way, Louisiana Democrats have a smaller advantage this year than in 2008, similar to the party identification trends nationally,” Gallup said. “That is not good news for Landrieu, who has clung to her seat with relatively narrow victories since her initial 1996 bid for the Senate.”

Republicans are trying to pick up six Senate seats this fall to retake the majority, making races like Louisiana’s pivotal.

Mrs. Landrieu is competing against Mr. Cassidy and Republican retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness. Failing to capture 50 percent of the vote would prompt a December run-off between the top two vote-getters, a scenario that could consolidate the vote against the Mrs. Landrieu.

Given the recent Democratic tilt in the state, the news is “not all bad for Landrieu,” Gallup noted, but only if her supporters come out to vote in greater number than her opponents.

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