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Wag the Blog: What's the Deal With Louisiana?

When the news broke that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) was a client of the so-called "D.C. Madam" the chattering class immediately began to debate whether the revelation was a death blow to Vitter's political career. Would he resign? Could he possibly hope to win re-election in 2010?

At that time, most people thought Vitter's transgression would be a serious blow to his political career. And yet, an early August poll by Southern Media & Opinion Research seems to suggest that Louisiana voters were not strongly affected by Vitter's admission.

Sixty-six percent of the sample strongly or somewhat approved of Vitter's job performance while just twenty-two percent said they disapproved. A three-to-one approve/disapprove score is healthy for any politician -- especially one that has endured the sort of negative publicity that Vitter has over the past few months.

What gives? We asked Charlie Cook, a former Fix boss, Louisiana native and one of the premier political analysts in the country for his take.

"I think Louisiana is the least morally judgmental state in the South and that the voters that would normally be the most critical of such behavior will tend to overlook it if from one of their own," Cook explained.

For today's Wag the Blog question we want to know what you think. Why haven't Vitter's actions had more of a negative effect on his polling numbers? Have Louisiana voters grown to accept that sort of behavior from their politicians? (This is the state, after all, where Gov. Edwin Edwards was re-elected on the message: "Vote for the Crook: It's important.") Or is this poll an outlier that doesn't accurately represent what Louisiana voters are feeling about Vitter.

The comments section awaits. We'll pluck out a few of the more thoughtful responses and give them their own post in the coming week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 23, 2007; 9:29 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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