Population shifts caused by the exodus of hurricane victims from the Gulf Coast could have ripple effects for years to come in Louisiana political races and perhaps beyond.
How big depends on how many people stay away, which ones stay away and where they end up putting down roots.
The early thinking is that the evacuees least likely to return to their homes in Louisiana may be the poorest -- and thus, Democrats for the most part. That would hurt the party in a state where Republicans already were making inroads.
If the lion's share of those leaving settle in Texas, that could work to the advantage of Democrats in President Bush's home state.
"I'm believing that the greatest displacement occurs among those who are traditionally Democratic voters," said Elliott Stonecipher, an independent political consultant from Shreveport, La.
"Based on sheer demographics, those who are Republican voters have the wherewithal and, we believe, the will to go home and rebuild," he said.