Poll: Jindal unpopular; Vitter leads in 2015 race

Associated Press file photo -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Jan. 8, 2014.
Associated Press file photo -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club on Jan. 8, 2014.

A new poll released Tuesday suggests Gov. Bobby Jindal is among the least popular governors in the U.S.

Public Policy Polling, of North Carolina, which generally works with Democrats, drew that conclusion after surveying 635 Louisiana voters between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent for the overall survey.

Fifty-three percent said they disapprove of Jindal’s job performance.

A survey conducted late last year by Baton Rouge pollster Bernie Pinsonat found that 55 percent of 600 likely Louisiana voters questioned between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, answered “poor” or “not so good” when asked to rate the governor’s job performance.

Jindal responded in a prepared statement: “I don’t care about polls. Here are the types of numbers that matter to me — jobs created, graduation rates, student test scores, and number of kids formerly trapped in failing schools who are now getting an equal opportunity for a good education. Those are the numbers that matter to me and to the people of Louisiana.”

The governor’s political consultant, Timmy Teepell, later released a February survey conducted by OnMessage of 800 likely Louisiana voters. Fifty percent strongly approved of the governor’s job performance. Teepell is a partner in OnMessage.

Despite voters’ apparent unhappiness with the GOP governor, the poll suggests his successor will be a fellow Republican.

Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards, of Amite, is running against Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne for governor next year. Term limits prevent Jindal from running.

The majority of poll participants were unfamiliar with Edwards.

In various matchups, Vitter beat Edwards outright while Dardenne led Edwards into a runoff. The poll suggests New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a long-time Democrat, would be a stronger candidate than Edwards.

The scenarios included:

“Louisianans continue to be very unhappy with Bobby Jindal. But his struggles don’t seem to extend to the Republican Party at large,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling.

Jindal is in step with most poll participants on allowing medical marijuana to be prescribed by a doctor but refusing to legally recognize gay marriage. However, 63 percent said Jindal should not run for president in 2016.

The poll results show Jindal would barely beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Louisiana should she be the Democratic presidential nominee.

The last presidential candidate to win the White House without carrying his home state was Richard Nixon in the 1960s.

Public Policy Polling did not delve into the reasons for the governor’s lack of popularity. However, Jindal has drawn negative attention for trying to change public teacher tenure, tinkering with state employees’ retirement and his frequent travels outside Louisiana.