Dennis Woltering & Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS An exclusive WWL-TV poll finds Louisiana voters less impressed with President Barack Obama than they were three years ago, and Rick Perry and Mitt Romney both leading the pack of Republican presidential candidates.

Three years ago, voters gave Obama 40 percent of the statewide vote here. Now, just 37 percent approve of his job performance, according to the poll. 61 percent of those surveyed disapprove.

'That's a problem not just for the president's re-election, but it's also a problem for the Democratic party fielding candidates at the state and local level,' said Dr. Ron Faucheux, whose Washington, D.C.-based Clarus Research Group conducted the poll for WWL.

The vast majority of Obama's support comes from African-Americans. 92 percent give him a favorable rating. Only 17 percent of white voters surveyed gave him a favorable job approval rating.

The statewide telephone poll conducted late last week asked 602 likely voters across Louisiana how they would vote if they had to choose between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

53 percent said they would vote for Romney, while 37 percent chose Obama. 10 percent are undecided.

If Texas Gov. Rick Perry were the Republican choice, 52 percent said they would vote for Perry. Again, 37 percent voted for Obama, in that head-to-head matchup. 11 percent said they were undecided.

Faucheux says Romney does better than Perry in the metro New Orleans/southeastern Louisiana region. Perry does better in the northern and central parts of the state.

'Both Romney and Perry are getting just about the same percentage of votes from most demographic groups against President Obama, which means that the electorate is very polarized on the president now,' Faucheux said.

If Louisiana's Republican primary had been held last week, Perry would have won, with 23 percent, followed by businessman Herman Cain with 21 percent. Romney would score 17 percent, with the rest of the candidates not even close to double digits. Former lawmaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul each score 4 percent. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer gets just three percent, as does Rep. Michele Bachmann. Former Utah Gov. and ambassador Jon Huntsman scores just 1 percent.

Since Perry is the governor of neighboring Texas, you would expect him to do very well in Louisiana.

Perry runs first among Tea Party Republicans, capturing 26 percent of their votes. Cain runs second among this group with 24 percent. Romney is third with 16 percent.

'Clearly, Herman Cain has recently taken a large portion of Perry's support away from him,' Faucheux said. 'And Cain is now in a strong second place in Louisiana.'

Cain's vote comes mostly from GOP men, according to the poll, while both Perry and Romney do a little better among GOP women. Romney edges Cain in the metro New Orleans region, with Perry running third there.

The Republican primary question in the WWL-TV poll has a margin of error of 5.6 percent. The rest of the poll has an error margin of four points.

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