Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval rating dropped 13 percentage points since last year, according to a poll paid for by a prominent funder of conservative causes.
The poll released Tuesday shows Jindal with a 51 percent approval rating. That compares with 61 percent in spring 2012 and 64 percent in fall 2011, according to the survey of 600 Louisiana voters across the state by Southern Media & Opinion Research Inc., based in Baton Rouge.
Bernie Pinsonat, of Southern Media, attributed the falling numbers to the growing impact of cuts to the state’s operating budget with 68 percent of respondents saying they don’t want additional cuts.
Additionally, 89 percent of respondents voiced concern about proposals to cut the LSU public hospital system.
“There is apprehension,” Pinsonat said, particularly because the plans have not been spelled out.
Eighty percent of respondents feared the budget plans ultimately could cause many Louisiana residents to lose access to medical care, the survey showed.
Respondents are saying they are unsure of the charity hospital system’s future and “I don’t feel good about it. That’s what this poll says,” Pinsonat said.
Jindal said in a prepared statement: “The people of Louisiana elected me to make the tough decisions necessary to create jobs and keep our economy growing. I have never been happy about good polls or worked up about bad polls. Polls are not my thing. Results are my thing.”
The poll of 26 questions was conducted by telephone with 600 randomly selected Louisiana voters from Sept. 11 to Sept. 20. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.
Contractor Lane Grigsby, of Baton Rouge, underwrites the biannual survey. Grigsby is a frequent contributor to conservative causes and candidates.
For the Nov. 6 presidential election, 45 percent of the respondents in the Southern Opinion poll said they favored former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP challenger, while 39 percent said they would vote for President Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent.
Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s chief political adviser, said, “Any poll that has Obama within 6 points of Romney in Louisiana, I’m not going to take seriously.”
A poll that would weigh so heavily for Obama would lower the numbers for those holding conservative views on issues, he said.
The poll cited 184 black voters — or 31.3 percent of the 600 voters responding to the survey’s questions. But the poll received responses from 132 black voters, or 28.7 percent, in 2011 and 82, or 27.3 percent, in 2010.
Pinsonat said the poll tries to reflect the people who most likely will vote in the upcoming election. Presidential elections attract more voters who don’t cast ballots in other years, he said.
“It’s a reflection about who is going to vote and what’s their opinion,” Pinsonat said.
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