Is Mary Landrieu in Blanche Lincoln territory?

This weekend I searched for recent polling of the Louisiana Senate runoff race, which will be held this coming Saturday. I hadn’t seen anything since a November 20 Rasmussen poll that had Rep. Cassidy leading Sen. Landrieu by 15 points.

Alas, I found nothing more recent. Perhaps the pollsters have concluded that this is no longer a competitive race.

Confirmation that the race may well effectively be over came this morning, via Jim Geraghty, in a story regarding the early vote. Reportedly, the number of people who cast their ballots early in Louisiana dropped off from the Nov. 4 primary election to the Dec. 6 runoff election in every statewide category except one: registered Republican voters.

The Republican early vote is up 4 percent; the Democratic early vote is down 18 percent. Even more ominously for the Dems, the number of Blacks voting early is down 24 percent from the November election.

In November, the vote for the two Republican candidates running at the time exceeded Landrieu’s vote by 13 points. The November 20 Rasmussen poll indicates essentially the same spread.

But if the early vote numbers are indicative, Landrieu could lose by a margin approaching 20 points. That’s Blanche Lincoln territory.

I don’t know of anyone who expected Landrieu to lose by Blanche Lincoln-like numbers. But then, I don’t know of anyone who expected Mark Pryor to lose as decisively as his former Arkansas colleague.

Even Tom Cotton, who doesn’t lack for confidence, told me this spring that his race against Pryor would, in all likelihood, be significantly tighter than John Boozman’s 2010 race against Lincoln. Yet, Tom’s final margin of victory — 17 points — was only slightly less than Boozman’s.

If Mark Pryor can lose Arkansas by 17 points, then Landrieu can lose Louisiana by even more in a runoff election where Democratic enthusiasm is, apparently, at rock bottom.

It may be many years until a Democrat wins a Senate race in either state.

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