Poll: Vitter will cruise to primary victory

by Walter Pierce

Saturday's Republican primary for U.S. Senate should be an afterthought for the incumbent.

Saturday's Republican primary for U.S. Senate should be an afterthought for the incumbent: A new survey from Public Policy Polling finds Sen. David Vitter with an embarrassingly commanding lead over his two rivals - a whopping 81 percent of likely voters say they'll choose Vitter; former state Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor garners 5 percent of the vote, while perennial also-ran Nick Accardo registers 4 percent. Nine percent are undecided.

More from PPP: Among the likely primary electorate, Vitter has a 78-17 job approval rating. Traylor, meanwhile, is unknown to 60 percent of these most faithful GOP voters, and those who do have an opinion disfavor him 3:1. With an 11-25 mark among the general electorate, Traylor, if anything, is slightly less liked among his own party than among everyone. It is no wonder, then, that with an 81-point favorability advantage on the margin, Vitter tops Traylor by 76 points in the horse race.

Some political watchers in Louisiana wondered if the Christian conservative Traylor's 11th-hour candidacy would rattle the Vitter camp and make for an interesting primary. But sordid revelations soon after he qualified that he is in a romantic relationship with his stepson's estranged wife - a relationship that began within weeks of his wife's death - no doubt played a role in turning off voters, who have evidently forgiven Vitter for his sexual transgressions.

The Saturday primary is open only to registered Republicans. PPP, a North Carolina pollster, surveyed 358 likely Louisiana Republicans on Aug. 21 and 22. The polls margin of error is +/- 5.2 percent.