by jordan blum
Advocate Washington bureau
March 21, 2013
WASHINGTON — New national polling data puts U.S. Sen. David Vitter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a dead heat for Louisiana’s 2015 governor’s race, with Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne only slightly behind.
The poll conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, which conducts polls for Democrats and progressives, focused mostly on the governor’s race and the three aforementioned potential candidates, none of whom have stated their intentions.
The firm released additional polling data on Wednesday that focused on the re-election chances of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and the declining favorability ratings of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is term limited.
The polling was conducted on Feb. 8 to Feb. 12 — the height of Mardi Gras activities — by surveying 603 Louisiana voters through automated telephone interviews.
The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.
The polling results matched Mitch Landrieu and Vitter, R-La., in a head-to-head match with them tied at 44 percent support each. Landrieu led 44 percent to 42 percent when pitted against Dardenne.
The survey did not match Vitter and Dardenne against each other candidate.
Landrieu had a 49 percent favorability rating compared with 26 percent unfavorable and 25 percent “not sure.” Dardenne had a 41 percent favorability rating with 23 percent grading him unfavorable and 35 percent “not sure.”
The question of Vitter was worded differently and asked to judge his job performance and not whether he was seen as favorable or not. Vitter had a 46 percent job approval rating with 38 percent disapproving and 16 percent “not sure.”
“Mitch Landrieu has an unusual amount of appeal to Louisiana voters for a Democrat,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “A gubernatorial run by him would make for a pretty interesting race.”
Landrieu would first have to decide next year whether to run for re-election as mayor.
The poll also looked at how potential presidential contenders would fare in Louisiana in 2016. The only Democrat included was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had a 46 percent favorability rating.
The survey data had her tied with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., in a presidential matchup and had Clinton ahead of both Jindal and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Louisiana Clinton led Jindal 48 percent to 45 percent, according to the poll.
Out of those surveyed, 54 percent said they voted for GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November compared with 40 percent for President Barack Obama.
The poll also looked at same-sex marriage, with only 25 percent of responders supporting gay marriage, but a much larger 54 percent supporting some form of legal recognition like civil unions.
The data also showed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has a huge 86 percent favorability rating and that 42 percent of the participants still see former Gov. Edwin Edwards favorably. Edwards’ past opponent, David Duke, only had a 9 percent favorability rating in a reliving of the infamous 1991 gubernatorial race.