But the real problem Landrieu has is that her 2002 and 2008 coalitions seem nearly impossible to reassemble. The 2002 runoff coalition suffers from the fact that the “normal” Democratic coalition is still down from 2002. Consider: In 2000, the population of Orleans Parish was 484,674. In 2010 it was 343,829. So, there has been a huge drop-off of adults. If we assume that 40 percent of these adults would vote, this translates to 57,000 fewer voters.In the back of my mind this season has been the 2003 gubernatorial election. There was a moment on election night that year just after the polls had closed where Oliver Thomas, speaking to a TV reporter, made a point of referring repeatedly to "Governor Blanco." Some of that was bravado, of course. But also one had the sense that OT knew the turnout numbers from Orleans Parish and that those numbers would be enough to elect his candidate.
Assume further that Democrats had a 60-point edge in this group (Obama received 80 percent in Orleans Parish in 2012). That's about 34,000 net Democratic voters lost from 2002. Landrieu won her 2002 runoff by 42,000 votes, so she would have no room for erosion in the rural areas of the state. Of course, there are also other parishes outside of Orleans that lost population, but they tend to be from the more Democratic portions of the state.
Landrieu could also try for the 2008 coalition, but the problem there is generating sufficient turnout. Consider: If we take Landrieu’s vote shares from 2008 (losing whites 29-65; winning blacks 96-2) and apply these numbers to the 2010 electorate (71 percent white, 24 percent black), Landrieu would still lose, albeit narrowly.
Last weekend when I was writing this post about New Orleans demographic changes post-Katrina, I mentioned in passing that it meant bad things for Mary Landrieu. Right now there is a strong effort to encourage early voters. The Landrieu camp rightfully assumes that the more early votes turn out, the better off her chances are. That effort seems to be going well. Even so, I don't think the votes she needs in New Orleans to put her over the top exist anymore regardless of how strong the GOTV effort is.
Anyway, I'll try to finish the post later. There's also a lot of football I'd like to get to as well. I've just been busy lately. Good thing nobody pays me to keep this blog up to date.