It has been clear since voting closed in early November of 2008 that Louisiana was never going to warm up to President Obama. The President's sweeping victory in 2008 did not radiate to Louisiana, where he received only 39% of the vote. However, we still see articles like this one:
Obama's approval rating topped out at 37 percent in Louisiana, a drop from the 40 percent support he received in the 2008 presidential election. His favorability hit only 17 percent with white voters, but reached 92 percent among black voters.
Let's avoid the absurdity of trying to compare turnout-skewed margin of victory to a poll that has margin of error of 2-5%. In essence, what the polling shows is that Obama is treading water in Louisiana. Which, considering the vitriol spewed at him and his administration from all manner of politicians in the Gret Stet, isn't so bad.
More importantly is the election next year. While we all hope Louisiana will come to its senses and recognize the awful bill of goods that Republicans are selling to this state, it's not likely to occur in such short order. Furthermore, by virtue of the electoral college, the GOP's margin of victory in Louisiana is unimportant. Either they get more than 50%, or they don't. And all signs point to that being a pretty reliable circumstance. We don't expect to see too many visits from either the President or the Republican candidate because Louisiana is simply not in play.
However, Louisiana IS in play when it comes to deciding which Republican will have the opportunity to win Louisiana's 8 electoral votes (yes, 8, not 9 anymore due to the loss of a Congressional Seat in the 2010 Census).
As per a change by Louisiana's legislature this past session (and at the behest of Republicans), our primary was moved to March 24th. Looking at the schedule, we've put ourselves directly after the big SUPER TUESDAY March 6th primaries where over 520 delegates are available. That's more than half the necessary amount to win the nomination on the GOP side. Louisiana sits on the other side of that mountain, meaning we'll likely be in the position to make a difference, either maintaining one campaign's recent momentum, or acting as a firewall for another.
In short: now our GOP primary matters.
But who's favored to win our coveted delegates?
Back in June, during the clownish Southern Republican Leadership Conference (highlighted by an Obama-impersonator being pulled from the stage after he turned his comedic fire on to Republicans) in New Orleans, John Huntsmans won a surprise second in the Louisiana SRLC straw poll. Unfortunately for Huntsman, his victory wasn't exactly considered a "legitimate" expression of Louisiana GOP thought at the time. It turns out, GOP operative and Orleans Parish School Board Member Brett Bonin helped pay busloads of people to vote for Huntsman in the straw poll. Just your ordinary caper to steal a vote from a Republican, but we digress. Let's see how the frothing mouth-breathers at the tea party websites reacted:
A Louisiana GOP source who saw my earlier item sends over an email that Brett Bonin, a New Orleans school board member and associate of the Bryan Wagner individual I interviewed, blasted out ahead of the straw poll last week. As Wagner explained before hanging up, he and Bonin helped deliver votes for Huntsman.
But some Louisiana Republicans are unhappy because, as the email twice gets at, it wasn’t just Republicans who were brought in to vote for Huntsman.
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 19:17:57 -0500
Subject: INSIDER INVITATION
From: [email protected]
To Team Bonin,
I have a very special invitation to all, regardless of party affiliation. I am hosting a free insider’s look at the Republican Southern Leadership Conference this Saturday.
Needless to say, Bonin's antics probably didn't allow for a clean look at the Louisiana GOP's thoughts on the presidential contest.
Regarding more appropriate data to the question at hand, we have an actual voter survey taken this past August from a GOP polling firm on Louisiana's actual preference:
WPA Research conducted a statewide survey August 14-16, 2011 in Louisiana and asked the following question to likely Republican voters :
Now, thinking about the 2012 Presidential race, If the Republican primary election for President were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were RANDOMIZE
IF UNDECIDED/NOT SURE, ASK
If you had to choose today, who would you lean toward (repeat candidates)?
1. Michele Bachmann 16% 2. Mitt Romney 15% 3. Newt Gingrich 9% 4. Rick Perry 30% 6. Herman Cain 2% 7. Ron Paul 6% 8. Rick Santorum 1% 9. Jon Huntsman 2% 10. Hard Undecided/DK/Refused DNR 19%
So it seems, at least several months ago, that Bobby Jindal's endorsement of Rick Perry was a good move only a month after this survey was completed.
Unfortunately, then Rick Perry had to run a campaign. And then this happened:
And then this happened:
So now we don't know where we are at all, do we?