| Bernie Ross Pinsonat
(Louisiana political pollster)
|Born|| August 25, 1941 |
Place of birth missing
|Spouse|| Stephanie Adelaide Little Pinsonat
(deceased; not first wife)
Pinsonat is the oldest of two children of Myrtle Miles Pinsonat (1921-2018), a native of Livonia in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His sister and brother-in-law are Linda and Neal Prudhomme. He is the maternal grandson of Willie Harris Miles and the former Elizabeth Martinez. His father's name is not mentioned in his mother's obituary. Myrtle Pinsonat, who was Roman Catholic, is interred at Greenoaks Memorial Park in Baton Rouge.
His second wife was the former Stephanie Adelaide Little (1956-2020). His children from a former marriage are Kevin Ross Pinsonat and wife Gail and Michelle Pinsonat.
Pinsonat entered the polling business through the encouragement of his golfing friend, J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., the Louisiana Democrat U.S. Senator from 1972 to 1997, who named Pinsonat early in his career to Johnston's staff. Pinsonat's polls often include questions inserted, in his words, "just for fun". Pinsonat drew the ire of Governor Edwin Edwards, who defeated Johnston in the 1971 Democratic runoff primary. The more Edwards criticized Pinsonat, the more business the polling company acquired. Pinsonat said that he gets the most satisfaction from his independent political polls, but the mainstay of his company, in partnership with Lawrence "Buster" McKenzie until McKenzie's retirement in 2017, consists of surveys for corporations and election campaigns.
Prior to the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Louisiana, Pinsonat correctly forecast that Johnston's Democratic successor, Mary Landrieu, would lose her bid for a fourth term as senator because her projected share of the white vote had dipped to 25 percent, instead of the 37 to 41 percent needed to win when combined with solid African-American support. Landrieu was unseated by Baton Rouge Republican Bill Cassidy.
In the 2016 Senate election, won by Republican John Neely Kennedy, Pinsonat was sued by a minor candidate, Troy Hebert of New Iberia, who cited the pollster for mistakenly calling Hebert "a Republcan", instead of a Democrat-turned-Independent, and for having said that only 2 percent of Louisiana voters recognized Hebert's name. Pinsonat dismissed the arguments Hebert advanced through the suit. Pinsonat said the particular polling had been commissioned by businessman and political heavyweight Lane Grigsby. The information, he said, was never intended to be used by civic groups to gauge the electability of candidates. Hebert is a former director of the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commission.
In 2018, Pinsonat's polling concluded that incumbent Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards enjoys a 60 percent approval rating as Edwards prepares for reelection in the nonpartisan blanket primary in 2019 against two announced Republican candidates, Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman, and U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham of Louisiana's 5th congressional district.
- Bernie Pinsonat. Mylife.com. Retrieved on December 3, 2018.
- Myrtle Miles Pinsonat. The Baton Rouge Advocate (November 26, 2018). Retrieved on January 9, 2019.
- Stephanie Pinsonat obituary (August 13, 2020). Retrieved on August 14, 2020.
- Kelly Connelly (November 26, 2013). LaPolitics Newsmaker: Bernie Pinsonat. Lapolitics.com. Retrieved on December 3, 2018.
- Troy Hebert, U.S. Senate candidate sues pollster for calling him a Republican. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (August 11, 2016). Retrieved on December 5, 2018.
- Stephen Sabludowsky (December 5, 2018). Eddie Rispone's Ready for Governor, are Louisiana voters?. Bayoubuzz.com. Retrieved on December 8, 2018.