One year before Gov. Bobby Jindal seeks re-election, a new Eyewitness News poll reveals he may have improved his standing with voters by the way he responded to the BP oil disaster. The same survey also shows President Barak Obama's response may have damaged his standing among Louisiana voters.
The telephone survey shows Obama scoring low approval and high disapproval among the 600 registered voters questioned across Louisiana. 38 percent said they approve of the job he is doing, while 57 percent said they disapprove.
“He didn’t do very well in the election in Louisiana when he was winning the rest of the country handily, so there’s no surprise here,” said pollster Dr. Ron Faucheux, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Clarus Research Group.
The poll, commissioned by WWL-TV and a consortium of Louisiana TV stations, shows President Obama getting low marks for his handling of the BP oil spill. 32 percent of voters say his performance was excellent or good. 65 percent say it was only fair or poor.
“I think it's an issue that hurt President Obama, not just because of the oil spill, but it said some things about his leadership and his ability to govern and handle a difficult situation that many voters around the country were not particularly happy about,” Faucheux said.
Faucheux said all of that presents a challenge for Democrats running for election in Louisiana. It means they have to find a way to distance themselves from Obama, but at the same time turn out the Democratic base on election day.
“That’s not an easy thing to do,” Faucheux said. “And it's one of the reasons why Republicans are advantaged in many of these elections.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal scores high marks from voters for his handling of the spill. 61 percent say Jindal's handling of the situation was excellent or good. 35 percent of those questioned said it was only fair or poor. Faucheux commented that Jindal was the only politician tested (other survey answers given included Obama, BP, and the Louisiana Congressional delegation) who rated positively among Louisiana voters for handling the disaster.
The poll, conducted by phone Aug. 15-16, gives Jindal a positive overall job rating. 66 percent say they approve of the job he's doing; only 28 percent disapprove.
“Jindal is by far the most popular public official in the state of those people we tested,” Faucheux said. “Almost 2/3 of the state's electorate approved of the governor's job performance, so that’s a very strong showing. In fact, it would put him among the most popular governors anywhere in the country right now.”
One year from the next governor's election, the Eyewitness News poll shows Jindal could be tough to beat, barring some dramatic change in his popularity. 65 percent of the voters questioned said they would vote to re-elect him. 35 percent said they want someone else. Five percent said it just depends on who runs.
“That adds up to having a good chance to being re-elected, no matter who the opponent is,” Faucheux said.
The poll reveals voters are not happy with members of congress. Democrats in congress get lower approval and higher disapproval scores, but the Republicans also score a low approval rating and a sizable disapproval rating.
“Voters are a good deal more positive toward Republicans than they are toward Democrats, but both of them have a net negative rating,” Faucheux said.
Voters are not too impressed with the response of Louisiana's congressional delegation to the oil spill either. Only 32 percent said the delegation's response has been excellent or good. 48 percent rated the delegation's response only fair or poor. But the worst scores of all go to BP, whose blown out well caused the disaster. Not surprisingly, according to Faucheux, 19 percent said the company’s response to the pollution was excellent or good. 77 percent said BP's response was only fair or poor.
The Eyewitness News poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.