Dennis Woltering and Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS – Although his re-election is a virtual certainty, the new statewide Eyewitness News poll shows that voters have some questions about Gov. Bobby Jindal's performance in a couple of key areas.
The exclusive Eyewitness News election poll, conducted by the Clarus Research Group, shows Jindal basically cruising to an easy re-election. 57 percent of those questioned say they would vote for Jindal.
None of his challengers even scored in the double digits. His closest challenger, Tara Hollis, got 5 percent. The undecided vote was 29 percent.
“Gov. Jindal is in very good shape politically right now. He's poised to win re-election in landslide victory,” said Dr. Ron Faucheux, who conducted the poll for WWL-TV.
The landline and cell phone poll of 602 likely voters statewide shows Jindal is strongest among Republicans (87 percent). He wins 50 percent of the independent vote and scores 29 percent of the vote among the Democrats surveyed.
The other candidates in the race scored in the single digits: David Blanchard, 2 percent; Cary Deaton, 2 percent; Scott Lewis, 2 percent; Trey Roberts, 2 percent; Bob Lang, 1 percent; Niki Bird Papazoglakis, 1 percent. Lenny Bollingham and Ron Ceasar did not score any points in the survey.
Seventy-three percent of white voters approve of the job he is doing, compared to 35 percent of blacks. But Jindal’s overall approval rating is the highest of anyone tested in the state at 63 percent. His disapproval rating is 32 percent.
Faucheux said Jindal’s political strength has depth.
“Voters think he's a strong leader. They think he's honest and they think he's trustworthy,” Faucheux said. “And they also generally agree with him on issues, and they think he agrees with them on issues.”
Of those questioned in the poll, 64 percent said Jindal provides strong leadership. 64 percent said he's honest and trustworthy. 55 percent said they feel Jindal agrees with them on the most important issues and 62 percent approve of his work to bring jobs to Louisiana.
“Given the national economic situation, there are few governors in the nation that are doing as well on an issue like that as he is doing in Louisiana,” Faucheux said.
Faucheux said the poll reveals only two places where Jindal shows weakness. Only 45 percent approve of his work to make public education better. Just over half of those surveyed, 52 percent, said he spends too much time campaigning in other states.
“And that's something that he needs to be careful with, I think, for his long range politics,” said Faucheux.
When questioned about the approval ratings of other statewide figures, voters gave Senators David Vitter and Mary Landrieu 50 percent or better.
Attorney general Buddy Caldwell, who will be re-elected without opposition, scored a 43 percent approval rating. Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain, who faces two opponents in the Oct. 22 election, scored a 43 percent approval number. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who has one opponent in the upcoming election, scored an approval rating of 42 percent.
But voters give state treasurer John Kennedy a 57 percent approval rating, which is second only to Jindal in the survey.
“He does very well among both Democrats and Republicans,” said Faucheux of the state treasurer, who was re-elected without opposition.
All Louisiana state officials who were tested have higher positive ratings than negative ratings, which Faucheux called something of a rarity in the current national political environment.
When it comes to party politics, in an increasingly Republican state like Louisiana, the Tea Party scores a 46 percent favorable rating from registered voters questioned.
“That's a considerable number of people in the state who represent what most people would consider to be very conservative positions: small government, less spending, no tax increases,” Faucheux said.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 points.
Coming up Thursday, see what the poll shows for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, as well as the Republican candidates for president. What is their standing in Louisiana? Dennis Woltering reports, Thursday on Eyewitness News at 6 p.m.