These are just some of the questions being asked in political circles this week after Ron Faucheux of Clarus Research Group released a poll its organization conducted on behalf of WWL TV and The Advocate newspaper.
On Tuesday, I spoke with Faucheux in an interview. Below is part one, which focuses upon an overview of the poll and other issues:
SABLUDOWSKY: Please provide a short overview of the results of the poll:
FAUCHEUX: Well generally speaking, this is a tie between John Bell Edwards and David Vitter at 24% then you have Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle who are close behind for second place, with Angelle at 15% and Dardenne at 14% and there's a few percent for other candidates and there's 18% of likely voters who are undecided which is still a pretty good number of undecideds with more to be decided in the next three or four weeks. In the runoff election, we have David Vitter who has been considered the front runner and basically we ran him against the other two Republicans in a runoff, and then the Democratic candidate Edwards. And what we found was the candidate who is the strongest in a runoff was Jay Dardenne who lead Vitter by 7%, Scott Angelle led Vitter by 5% and Edwards lead Vitter by 4%. So what it indicated is that number one in the primary election, that Vitter and Edwards are a lock in a runoff unless Dardenne and Angelle did something to break that. Both of them could move up and it is still possible that one of them can move up. Maybe the way that Buddy Roemer did at the 1987 governor's election when he was way on the bottom and then suddenly in the last for five weeks of the election he rose up. So it is technically mathematically possible for these candidates to move up but we had not seen that yet. Anything could happen at that point. I think that ultimately Republicans have an advantage in the state as of late but there's one thing that may hurt Republicans in the state is Gov. Jindal's position. Gov. Jindal has very high negatives, has very high negatives even among Republicans who were disappointed. So if the voters are of the mind to have a change or candidate very much unlike Jindal, then anything could happen. One of the things we have seen in Louisiana politics over the years is that often time people in the state like governors who are different than the current governor. We had Dave Treen who was very different from Edwin Edwards, and then Edwards came back and beat treen. Then we had Buddy Roemer who was very different from Edwards. And then Edwards came back and beat Roemer. Then we had Mike Foster who was very different from government Edwards in terms of the image he presented and the nature of his politics, then we had Kathleen Blanco who is a Democrat and then we had Bobby Jindal who was a very different kind of candidate. So the big question is--are the voters going to be looking for something very different from Jindal and if that's the case, they would consider voting for the Democrat this time. Or do they want to stick with a Republican. We don't know that yet.
FAUCHEUX: One of the interesting things and this is true for Edwards, Dardenne and for Angelle, the voters don't know that much about them so they're being held back due to lack of campaign resources to get out there messages and to review their candidacies more favorable.
SABLUDOWSKY: Sure that's an advantage and disadvantage for David Vitter, I mean he's got about a 85 maybe mid 80s
FAUCHEUX: about 90%
SABLUDOWSKY: so that is not a lot of room for growth and my correct about that?
FAUCHEUX: Well I think there's not a lot of room for growth for David Vitter, unless he can pull for now is for Angelle and Dardenne by making the case that these guys are not really conservatives which is what his campaign advertises. As it stands now the undecided vote is more democratic, it's more African-American and it's actually more women than men, so those constituencies, Vitter would not have a big advantage, but the question for Vitter is can he pull off more conservatives, can he overcome some of his negatives and overcome the negatives of Bobby Jindal who, I'm sure, the Edwards campaign would make Jindal an issue
SABLUDOWSKY: Right now, a lot of people thought it would just be a runaway, especially with the money Vitter has and his super PAC has, so talking about Jindal for second--I don't know if y'all did polled his favorables are if you just using prior information,or what--is it because their anti-Jindal because of his run for presidency or because of his positions which probably are pretty popular in Louisiana
FAUCHEUX: When a candidate is polling poor numbers, it's usually for multiple and are not contributable to one thing but I do think that based upon (and we do have additional questions in the survey that WWL has and which they will be reporting later this week) but just looking at the numbers, I think has a lot of resentment towards Bobby Jindal, not just because of his run for president, I think there is a perception, whether it's right or wrong, that he basically stopped being governor. And I think it is because of the state's fiscal problem that would seem an awful lot of recently. So I think it's about Bobby Jindal's governance, and not necessarily his policy
SABLUDOWSKY: So, in terms of the economy and government , I thought it was really interesting, I don't have the numbers in front of me, and I'm just those numbers out but roughly 60% of the people that they were not bothered by the candidates have and raise taxes in the past but a pretty good number and I'm just going to just put out, 40-60% said they want to cut the budget rather than raise taxes, even if there is going to be real cutbacks in higher education, so they’re willing to forgive for the past, but they don't want to forgive in the future
FAUCHEUX: Well I think that's probably true from the standpoint that a lot of it is about trust in government, the voters trust in government. I think you would find that there are they are for-- like education, law enforcement and infrastructure, whatever, but they don't trust government. They don't trust government's ability to do it honestly and until you have the kind of leadership, and this is true not just in Louisiana, but all over the country at this state and local level. There are voters that think that the budget has been cut in the wrong places and they still think there are ways that certain programs can be cut and eliminated so that the functioning of the government to be more efficient
SABLUDOWSKY: This spring, summer, of course we had legislative session, you were a legislator so of course you quite experienced with this, and the emotionality's of it and it was really a knock out bout, the tricks that were played at the last moment, with SAVE act, and all, and next year we’re looking at a budget deficit at least a billion dollars and that doesn't even factor in the oil issues, but of course we have six months or so to wait and see what happens, but my question is, that doesn't seem to be a whole lot of anger-I mean I would've expected that the populace would have said--hey just throw all the bums out. That does not seem to be the case,
FAUCHEUX: I think that's good point, I think a lot of the legislators running and other information I looked at, it seems like the legislators are in better shape politically than it has been in other times. The legislators have been doing a pretty good job communicating with their constituencies that they don't always support was going on and that they have alternative solutions and the voters in a lot of places agree--that's true for conservative legislators and liberal legislators. I do think that there are people in state who were very happy about the state and there are some parts of the state that have tremendous job growth.
I think it's more that the people feel that Bobby Jindal has disappointed them, he could've been a great governor, but he didn't do it because he wanted to go out and play politics, I'm not saying that's my opinion, I'm just saying what many people think. And there are people who are dissatisfied and they are looking for something different.
NEXT: PART 2 OF THE FAUCHEUX INTERVIEW