Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 10, 2003
Louisiana's presidential politics is racially polarized. In 2000 it voted 53%-45% for George W. Bush, with whites voting 72%-26% for Bush and blacks 92%-6% for Al Gore. One reason is that Louisiana's black percentage is the second highest in the country, after Mississippi, and rising: The state's white population increased 1% in the 1990s and its black population increased 12%, as many whites left the state and some blacks in the North and West returned to their southern roots. An estimated 29% of Louisiana voters were black in 2000; if that percentage had been 35%, with the same balance between the candidates, Gore would have carried the state.
Louisiana has never played a significant role in presidential primaries and caucuses, with one odd exception. That was in 1996, when Republican allies of Phil Gramm set up a pre-Iowa-and-New-Hampshire February 6 caucus. The aim was to jump-start Gramm's campaign; instead the caucuses killed it. Gramm, relying on polls of active Republicans, was cocksure that he would win. But Pat Buchanan crisscrossed the bayous and upcountry parishes, meeting with voters, talking on cell-phones with any radio show that would have him. Only 20,000 Republicans showed up at 42 voting sites voted (as compared to 100,000 at 2,000 sites in Iowa), and Buchanan won more votes than Gramm and took 13 of the 21 delegates. Gramm's campaign in Iowa faltered, and he left the race before the vote in New Hampshire.
In January 1999 state Republican chairman Mike Francis got the party to schedule another pre-Iowa caucus. But in December 1999 Governor Mike Foster got the state central committee to cancel the caucus and hold a March primary. He cited the low turnout in 1996 and the fact that only Orrin Hatch, Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes were competing in Louisiana. George W. Bush, Foster's candidate, won in March and Francis lost his seat on the party committee.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|2000 Republican Primary|
|2000 Democratic Primary|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in Louisiana, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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