Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards (D), who many doubted would seek a fourth term -- he had a job disapproval rating this spring of nearly 80 percent -- is leading six challengers, according to an independent statewide survey, and could come in first or second in the Oct. 24 open primary. The poll also shows that Edwards would have a tough time winning the general election. (In Louisiana, if no candidate wins a majority in the primary, the top two vote-getters face each other in a runoff.)

Edwards' first-place standing in the poll, with 23 percent, reflects his name recognition. But when asked specifically whether they would vote to reelect Edwards again, only about 20 percent of the electorate said yes. Another indication of Edwards' weakness showed up when voters were asked their second choice. He got 7 percent, trailing all the other candidates.

Rep. Robert L. Livingston (R) was second in the poll with 19 percent, followed by Democrats Rep. W.J. (Billy) Tauzin at 17 percent, Secretary of State Jim Brown with 13 percent and Rep. Buddy Roemer, 10 percent.

Louisiana political scientist Ed Renwick said "everything will shift" after Labor Day, when voters start paying more attention. Renwick said he does not think Edwards can win and predicted that one of the three House members will be the next governor.