FILE - Ralph Abraham, John Bel Edwards, Eddie Rispone

U.S. Rep Ralph Abraham, R-La. (from left), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and businessman Eddie Rispone.

A poll released Monday shows Gov. John Bel Edwards short of the majority he would need to avoid a runoff and win in the first round of Louisiana’s state elections Saturday.

The same poll, conducted Oct. 3-5, shows businessman Eddie Rispone virtually tied with Congressman Ralph Abraham, a fellow Republican who also hopes to make the November runoff against the Democratic incumbent.

Both men will be hoping for a partisan boost from a visit by President Donald Trump, who announced on Twitter he plans to be in Lake Charles for a Republican rally on Friday night.

“Keep Democrat Governor Edwards under 50%, force a runoff, and have a great new Republican Governor!” Trump tweeted, without taking sides between the two main GOP contenders.

Louisiana does not hold party primaries. Every candidate runs on the same ballot regardless of party; if no candidate wins a majority on Saturday, the top two face off in a November runoff.

JMC Analytics and Polling found Edwards with 45 percent support, along with 20 percent for Rispone and 19 percent for Abraham. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent.

The results are similar to JMC’s last poll of the race released Sept. 22.

When potential voters who lean toward Edwards and undecided black voters are included in Edwards’ total, he reaches 48 percent, with fellow Democrat Omar Dantzler’s 2 percent keeping him from reaching 50 percent.

Edwards’ challenge, said JMC founder John Couvillon, is that this poll uses a sample that is 29 percent black and 45 percent Democratic. With the conclusion of in-person early voting, the early vote of 374,190 (the second-highest early vote ever in Louisiana) was only 25 percent black and 43 percent Democratic.

If that same demographic breakdown holds true on election day, the poll would show Edwards only leading Rispone 43 percent to 23 percent, with 21 percent for Abraham, Couvillon said.

Staff Writer

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.