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|Poll reinforces Jindal mandate|
Obviously not satisfied with the media's interpretation of the outcome of the 2011 gubernatorial campaign in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal's former chief-of-staff-turned-political consultant is armed with a new poll saying Jindal would have been easily re-elected in October even if turnout had been far higher than the 36 percent of registered voters who bothered to go to the polls.
Now employed by the political consulting firm On Message Inc. of Alexandria, Va., Timmy Teepell oversaw On Message's Nov. 8-10 poll of some 500 voters who cast ballots in the Oct. 22 governor's election. On Message also polled 300 voters who didn't participate in the October primary. The margin of error for the survey of primary voters was plus or minus 4.4 percent. The margin increased to 5.7 percent among non-voters in the October election.
The most surprising finding of the poll wasn't the positive opinion that voters, in general, expressed for Jindal (71 percent). Instead, it was the percentage of voters who feel Louisiana is headed in the right direction.
According to On Message's survey, some 56 percent of primary voters believe Louisiana is on the right track while 55 percent of voters who sat out the October election believe the same. To put that into perspective, some 80 percent of primary voters polled by On Message think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-four percent of non-voters were of the same opinion.
The latter confirms what we already knew about President Obama's popularity among Louisianians.
According to On Message, Obama's disapproval rating stands at a whopping 61 percent while only 33 percent expressed a positive opinion of the president. It should be noted, though, that shortly after Obama took office in January 2009, some polling captured the president's disapproval rating at roughly 80 percent in Louisiana.
While Obama, a Democrat, remains highly unpopular here, another Democrat, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, fares much better among Louisianians. In fact, she's more popular than her colleague, Sen. David Vitter, a Republican.
According to On Message, Landrieu enjoys a 54 percent approval rating, compared to 52 percent for Vitter. In a hypothetical match-up between the two, Landrieu would pull 44 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Vitter. Some 14 percent of the respondents were undecided.
But the real reason Teepell put the On Message poll in the field was to get a feel for Jindal's standing among voters who didn't take the time to vote for one reason or another in October.
Though a number of political handicappers and opinion writers have suggested Jindal was re-elected with 66 percent of the vote in October because voter turnout was so light, On Message's survey found otherwise.
According to On Message, some 75 percent of Oct. 22 primary voters approve of the job Jindal is doing as governor while 68 percent of voters who didn't participate in the election gave Jindal a thumbs-up on his job performance. Jindal's disapproval numbers were 24 percent and 26 percent respectively.
When polled about who they voted for in the Oct. 22 election, some 67 percent of the respondents said they cast their ballots for the governor. Of the 67 percent who said they voted for Jindal, an impressive 81 percent said Jindal got their vote because they "believe in his vision for Louisiana."
Like it or not, Jindal has a mandate. The gubernatorial election in October proved it. On Message's polling confirmed it.