NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The Democrats seem likely to lose a Louisiana Senate seat with Mary Landrieu defeated in a December runoff, a poll released Monday said.
The USA Today/Suffolk University poll found a statistical dead heat in next week's three-way contest with Landrieu at 36 percent, 35 percent for Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy and 11 percent for Rob Maness, a Tea Party-backed Republican. If no one gets at least 50 percent in next week's election, under Louisiana rules the two top contenders will then face off, and Cassidy is ahead in a two-way contest 48 percent to 41 percent.
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, said those who plan to vote ffor Maness next week are "basically a holding place for Cassidy." He said Landrieu's only chance to keep her seat would be to get enough supporters to the polls to win next week.
About 75 percent of minority voters back Landrieu but also appear likely to have a low turnout.
"It's clear to me that her best shot is next Tuesday, and the way she could change the dynamics in the race is to get people out to the polls who are not engaged right now," Paleologos said.
President Obama's unpopularity in the state is clearly a drag on Landrieu, with only 32 percent approving of his performance. Joyce West, 65, of Shreveport told USA Today she is "scared" for her children's future.
"It's not so much Cassidy that appeals to me. It's that I am so against Mary Landrieu," West said. "She has done nothing for this state. She must think we are the most ignorant people in the world."
Landrieu and Maness were scheduled to appear Monday night in the third debate of the election season. Cassidy, who agreed to be in only two debates, will not join them.
All three candidates will be on stage Wednesday in Baton Rouge for the last debate.