PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The political balance in Louisiana has shifted to the Democrats for the first time in three years, a Gallup poll released Tuesday said.
But the move might not be enough to save U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. In 2008, when Landrieu ran for a third term, the Democrats had a 10-percentage point edge if people considered party leaners were counted and 16 points among those with a strong party identity.
Gallup found that 45 percent of respondents described themselves as Democrats or leaning that way, while 41 percent were Republicans or Republican-leaners. Overall, 35 percent said they were Democrats, 33 percent independents and 28 percent Republicans.
A CNN/ORC poll also released Tuesday found a national shift to the Democratic Party. But CNN said it was concentrated in the northeast, where Democrats are strong, and not in states like Louisiana and North Carolina where Democratic incumbents are fighting to stay in Congress.
Under the Louisiana system, Landrieu must get at least 50 percent of the vote in the election to avoid a runoff. This year, there are two strong Republican candidates, Rep. Bill Cassidy and Air Force Col. Rob Maness, making a runoff likely.
"The road to winning the Louisiana U.S. Senate seat is marked with many potholes that could sink Landrieu's path to re-election," Gallup concluded.
"From the less favorable political climate to Obama's unpopularity, and from the conservative tilt of the state to the complicated three-way contest in the so-called "jungle primary," there are many obstacles for the incumbent to navigate. Though she has squeezed through some highly contested races in the past, Landrieu's chances of doing so again in 2014 appear to be slimmer, given the variety of factors going against her."
Gallup interviewed 1,396 Louisiana adults as part of a national trending poll. The margin of error for the sample in the state is 3 points.