Pinsonat Talks Caldwell, Jindal, Louisiana Politics
Written by  // Wednesday, 02 February 2011 15:05 //

Bernie Pinsonat--Louisiana Politics There is politics in the air and Pollster Bernie Pinsonat has his hand on the pulse of Louisiana politics as much as anyone in the state.  Bayoubuzz issued questions to Pinsonat about Buddy Caldwell, recent elections, Governor Jindal, the legislative session, Louisiana Democrats, Republicans.  Once again, Pinsonat pulls no punches, says it how he sees it and often Bernie P. leaves the ground burning with his observations.  Today's edition is no different.


There has been great speculation that AG Buddy Caldwell will be the next switch to the Louisiana GOP.  If so, what would this mean for the GOP, the Demos as we approach reapportionment, the legislative session and elections?


Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is going to switch to the Republican Party. He has no other choice. He is now the only state government elected official who is registered as a democrat. We are witnessing the total collapse of the State Democratic Party and it may be 20 years until it becomes relevant again. What caused the recent mass exodus of state legislators to change parties?  Just about everyone knows the election of President Barack Obama plus his health care reform legislation caused a huge shift of white democrats and independents to identify as republicans and vote for republicans. The big event that pushed white democrats to change occurred after the recent election of Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne. The democratic candidate spent a small fortune and still got stomped. If you were a white democrat and you were soon to face reelection this fall - this was the ultimate wakeup call!  The flood gates opened after this election and will remain open through the 2011 election cycle. Buddy Caldwell watched Fayard and her father, both are trial lawyers, spend a small fortune and lose. Running as a democrat Caldwell would need lots of trial lawyer money to finance his campaign. The vast majority of small businesses in Louisiana, republicans and democrats, do not contribute to democrats funded by trial lawyers. The republicans will probably endorse Caldwell for reelection and give him a big advantage. As a democrat he was iffy at best to be reelected.   


 Governor Jindal has made a number of announcements in recent weeks—UNO-SUNO, one board and more.  His poll numbers have dropped as your recent poll.   However, so far, he is unopposed for re-election.  So, are the poll numbers important to him at all?


Mediocre poll numbers obviously got Governor Jindal’s attention, as of today,” he is the official energizer bunny for political P R activity”. I seriously doubt Governor Jindal will have trouble getting reelected this fall: he has lots of money; decent poll numbers and zero opponents to challenge him. Governor Jindal has yet to submit a budget to the legislature that makes even a small dent in state spending. For the last two years Louisiana has faced a billion plus deficit, this years is no different. For the last two years the republicans in the House of Representatives sent budgets to the State Senate that cut almost a half a billion in state spending. Governor Jindal and the democrats in the senate restored every penny of house budget cuts. Why would democrats want him defeated – after all, it was house democrats who passed Jindal’s budget, lots of republicans in the house voted no, including the republican speaker.  


 Some believe that Jindal is playing to his base with his recent announcements and ignoring any political opposition and that he is not making any hard decisions.  Do you agree and would this be a good strategy as he approaches the hot spring political season?


Putting TOPS funding in the constitution is smart and politically popular. Combining SUNO and UNO was also smart and politically popular. Graduation rates at both of these universities are abysmal.  Most voters will agree with Jindal’s proposal and Speaker Jim Tucker, in supporting Jindal’s proposal , summed it up with this - UNO, with this change will be better off!  Why- the LSU Board of Supervisors seems clueless and out of touch. The main LSU campus is a very good university, but the other universities under their control are, at best, below average.  Governor Jindal is now suggesting changes to our higher education system that is long overdue. The above is not a hard political decision; a hard political decision would be supporting and actually creating a single board to oversee all of higher education. Will Governor Jindal actually take on the status quo and win a major fight in the legislature? He usually does not – his bills get watered down by democrats and reforms very little. The recent so called Grad Act started out with some tough reforms – it passed with changes by democrats that literally gave higher education about a half a billion in tuition increases with universities reforming next to nothing.  Based on this legislation we can expect graduation rates to get to the national average in 2060. Here we go again – Jindal is proposing GRAD ACT ll – which is another way of giving higher education another boat load of money for reforming nothing! Watch for republicans to oppose this legislation and democrats to support it – like I said why would democrats want to get rid of Jindal?

By Bernie Pinsonat of Southern Media Opinion & Research

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