Last week the Louisiana political commentariat got a big kick out of a poll released by state senator Rob Marionneaux (D-Gross Tete), who might be considering a run against incumbent governor Bobby Jindal this fall. That poll, conducted by Democrat pollster Anzalone Liszt Research, showed Marionneaux getting drummed by Jindal in a 59-30 rout, though after a spate of negative statements about Jindal and positive ones about Marionneaux the numbers reverse to a 48-40 Marionneaux lead.
That last number was generally regarded as a joke, and the original 29-point margin more like an accurate reading of what a Jindal-Marionneaux race would look like. Marionneaux’s subsequent tepid statements on a potential run indicate that he didn’t really believe that massive swing is any more possible than anyone else does.
But a new poll released today by Southern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) shows Marionneaux might be in an even deeper hole than even the Anzalone poll predicts.
SMOR’s survey, conducted Monday through Wednesday of this week, hit 600 likely Louisiana voters and has a four percent margin of error. And if its numbers are to be believed Jindal is unbeatable this fall regardless of who the Democrats could put up against him.
The governor’s re-elect number is an impressive 59.4 percent in the survey, with just 36.8 percent disagreeing. And his approval rating is 63.5 percent, with 39.6 percent of that number checking in at”very favorable.”
“Jindal is very popular with his base republicans – he is also popular with white demos,” said SMOR’s president Bernie Pinsonat, who added that some of the carping this spring over the tumultuous legislative session had something to do with the number. “The last session really helped him with all voters – the surge in his popularity after session is contrary to the dire predictions by his critics. “
Further, Marionneaux fares extremely poorly in the SMOR survey. In a three-way race between Jindal, Marionneaux and Haynesville schoolteacher Tara Hollis, who unlike Marionneaux is actually a declared candidate in the race, the governor walks away with 58.5 percent of the vote to Marionneaux’s 8.4 percent, with Hollis picking up 6.2 percent.
Jindal gets positive ratings from 51 percent of the state’s Democrat voters, 46 percent of whom say they’ll vote to re-elect him. That leaves a very difficult path to election for an opponent of the governor – even in the black community Jindal’s re-elect number is 23.5 percent.
The generic legislative ballot in the SMOR survey also favors the governor and his efforts through the state’s Victory Fund to elect more Republicans to the House and Senate this fall. By a 42.9-36.0 margin respondents said they preferred to vote for a Republican candidate for the legislature, and by a 46.7-32.0 margin they said the Republican Party more properly represents their political beliefs. In addition, respondents also rated the GOP majority state legislature positively with a 59.6 percent favorability rating (though only 11.3 percent responded with a strong favorability rating of the legislature).
Those seem like pie-in-the-sky numbers for Jindal and the state GOP, but the inability of the Louisiana Democrat Party to find a standard bearer or a credible message of opposition means not only is his re-election assured but his influence with the legislature will likely be challenged only from the Right.