NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd is obviously a bright guy, but in his most recent post analyzing the internal electoral dynamics of all fifty states, he unwittingly reveals his ignorance of the political landscape of the Great State of Louisiana. Quoting:
Louisiana: Is something happening in the Bayou? A recent poll showing Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu winning by a big margin also had Obama within three points of McCain. Could this poll be right? It really depends on how many Katrina evacuees return to the state to vote. It’s the big unknown and is probably why the Obama campaign didn’t target the state. It’s very difficult to find the electorate and guarantee you can get them to come back to New Orleans in time to vote. Frankly, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Some days, I think we’re underplaying the potential of Katrina evacuees to return and make the presidential race competitive and other days I think the electorate has changed so much that Landrieu is going to lose. We’ll find out Tuesday. Tip: Democrats could pick up a House seat in the state, perhaps the 4th District, but it’ll be a neutral gain since they may lose the district they won in a special election earlier this year.
Certainly, something is happening in the Bayou, but the situation here is not exactly as Mr. Todd believes. For one, the potential success of Senator Obama has very little to do with Katrina evacuees returning to the State to vote. If this is, in fact, the reason Obama’s campaign did not directly target Louisiana, then we should all be wondering: Who is advising Senator Obama on Louisiana?
Democratic success in Louisiana does not hinge on attracting voters who have not yet returned, three years after the storm. The notion that the Katrina diaspora has permanently undermined the capability of Louisiana to turn blue is just a myth of the Republican Party’s little red book, and it has repeatedly been proven false.
The Renwick poll is not anamolous; it’s an accurate depiction of the state of the race. And though it may look like, at first glance, to be an outlier, anyone who understands our State, our demographics, and the intensity of this election would agree: We are still a swing state, and the Presidential race is much closer than anyone thinks.
Second point: Louisiana 4th won’t be decided on Tuesday, and there is little reason to believe that the Democrats will lose Cazayoux’s seat. Congressman Cazayoux is polling well ahead of his challengers and appears to be in a strong position.
Todd neglected to mention the close race in LA 07, between Charles Boustany (R) and Don Cravins, Jr. (D). Cravins is a solid candidate, and by all indications, this could come down to the wires, particularly if the increased turn-out for the Presidential election benefits Mr. Cravins, which it should.