Maness Polling Far Behind Landrieu and Cassidy, But Poised to Have an Impact on Louisiana Race

Rob Maness may or may not win the Louisiana Senate race or even be the top Republican.

What is certain is that he will have an influence on the winner of the race.

Louisiana has an open primary system in which everyone is on the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election. If no one has a clear majority, they will go to the runoff on Dec. 6.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) are running close together, according to a poll released Oct. 27 by USA Today and Suffolk University.

The poll found 36 percent of voters pledging to cast a ballot for the senior senator while 35 percent planned to vote for Cassidy. Eleven percent backed Maness.

The survey included 500 randomly called people who said they were very likely to vote or had already voted in the election.

Real Clear Politics expects a runoff, with the latest polling average putting Cassidy 4.5 points ahead.

While Maness is far behind both Landrieu and Cassidy, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin supports the Tea Party challenger from Madisonville, La. She’s predicting Maness winning the Senate seat.

“Like a gator in the swamp, Col. Rob Maness may have been seen as sharply lurking, but is now ready to pounce,” Palin said in a statement to RCP. “This is the election that will be the shocker on Tuesday.”

Polls from two Louisiana universities are also forecasting a runoff. A poll by the University of New Orleans surveyed 590 voters and found that Landrieu would not have enough votes to avoid a runoff, according to The (Baton Rouge, La.) Advocate. LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab released results of a poll that stated that 85 percent of Republicans are certain of voting compared with 75 percent of Democrats. The LSU poll was based on interviews with 1,021 adults, 944 of them self-identified as registered voters.

Since Maness has been in the race, there has been tension between him and the state’s Republican Party.

A story in The Times-Picayune stated that the Maness campaign is accusing state GOP chairman Roger Villere of coercing newer members of the party by withholding support if they did not switch their vote to Cassidy.

Villere denied the claim. “Bill Cassidy has my support and that of thousands of other Louisianans because he is the only candidate that can defeat Mary Landrieu and return control of the Senate to Republicans,” he told the new outlet in an Oct. 23 story. “Any suggestion of another motive is nonsense.”