The poll results were clear. Louisiana voters are tired of Jindal. They are tired of continuous cuts to the budget impacting higher education and healthcare. None of that is surprising.
However, what is a shocker is the remedy--the state, likely the most conservative in the nation, is not saying "No new taxes". Instead, the mantra appears to be "no new severe cuts".
In a recorded telephone conversation, Pinsonat explained further his poll results shortly after Bayoubuzz released the SMOR poll.
Below is the transcript and a video presentation of the recorded audio:
SABLUDOWSKY: Bernie you came out with a poll today, I think, am I right, it's your spring poll,
PINSONAT: Actually we released it this afternoon, actually. I got my notice from you that the poll was up so we’re getting a lot of interest, I'm had some of the comments back saying it's one of the better polls we’ve ever done. We looked at the legislature and we looked at a different scenario instead of just saying you want to pay more income tax versus making reductions to healthcare and education. Normally the public says no, "don't ask me for that money". We use this for the scenario that is available to the legislature and the one that just recently passed the house with a getting revenues from lots of different sources and we gave some of the sources to the people we’re talking to and told them the various scenarios raising fees and cutting out special tax exemptions and that versus services--mention the service. We know that LSU would be dramatically hurt, we know the hospitals will be hurt. We've had secretaries of different departments, like, Secretary of State said that he he would furlough employees.
PINSONAT: So, it's no big secret that these budget cuts would play dramatic part in huge reduction in services to residents in Louisiana and we even asked the doomsday scenario what if Jindal and the legislature couldn't come together to make the dramatic cuts where LSU would lose schooling and all the dire consequences that would obviously happen if we didn't come up with $1.6 billion
SABLUDOWSKY:if I could interrupt-- I'm looking at this, a strong majority, 76.3 think that the legislature would have acted irresponsibly if this session ended without any additional revenue and the doomsday scenario consequences occurred.. That's extraordinary, is it?
PINSONAT: Well Steve I hope that you like the approach because instead of doing the old poll questions we would normally do where you would pay more taxes, that's really not the scenario. There is an a different alternative but the public is beginning to pay attention, especially, when you hear the president of LSU talking about the dramatic action he would take just to save LSU's credit. And, so we polled those questions, the different scenarios of raising revenue from lots of people everybody paying their fair share and nobody been scalped in that versus making one billion six in cuts. And the question that you're talking about about what if all of this really happen, most people in Louisiana and rightly so said the legislature would be acting irresponsibly no matter who the governor is--would be the same thing. So, it really makes a look at--what the legislature is facing, the legislation that's available, the picture of today of Louisiana in different choices and we asked voters and we got a pretty interesting response. It wasn't just--ok--you giving us property tax or we would shut LSU down, that's not what they're trying to do. So based on the survey what the legislature is attempting to do is pretty popular with the public. The trying to raise revenues from lots of sources, I'm sure the people they're getting revenue from are not as happy about it. But, I think that overall, as long as the public perceives it is fair and everybody pay something and nobody scalped, then I think that's why the question got such a good positive response from Louisiana voters.
SABLUDOWSKY: Yeah I actually wrote a column today saying despite what happened last Thursday--in terms of-- what, roughly 6 million dollars raising revenue (whether you call it tax or not) the governor is saying that we're still going to have a balance budget and were still going to preserve higher Ed and healthcare. Well, the numbers don't work. You can't do that. You can't have a balanced budget and save those (and not raise revenues) and I think that this poll is saying we need to have some real finality to all of this. What do you think?
PINSONAT: Well I think we can describe what's happening at the capitol. These are the choices the legislature is going to have to make. You can't cut $1.6 billion, and can't cut $1 billion out of the budget and not dramatically affect the operations of our university, the quality of healthcare in our hospitals and all the numerous services. It's not just the hospital, you have all these health care clinics that treat some of the people and all of those will be dramatically affected--and that's the way we described it. I don't think the public buys that you can cut $1 billion out of this budget without some dramatic reduction in state services. And as the poll indicated--there's a lot of people out there, and the people that responded most dramatically in the survey were women.
PINSONAT: They're the ones responsible, they're the ones who pay attention to what's available in the healthcare, the education opportunities for the kids in the universities versus how much that costs. They want Jindal to pay the bills and they are the ones who take care of the kids. So hearing the various scenarios that we presented, they're the ones much more inclined to be much more upset with the legislature, the governor and anybody else if this money doesn't come into fruition to avoid these huge budget cuts. What's Jindal's talking about and he wasn't very specific but the public made it clear that that not interested in the state suffering more catastrophic--I guess you would say catastrophic reductions in the budget that affects state services. If you go further into his poll and you look at Jindal, look, his popularity is taking a beating and one of the major reasons is, no other governor, at least in my lifetime, has suffered such a hit on his popularity because he hasn't had any revenues. He can describe this any way he wants or try to talk his way out of it, but because of the lack of revenues, that is one of the big reasons why his popularity has continued to fall. If he had a half a billion this year plus with he was paying all of our bills I'm sure it would be quite a different picture of he and his popularity. But at this point in time the public has basically had enough.
SABLUDOWSKY: Right, so in terms of right so in terms of the actual numbers and Jindal, what you'e saying is he received a 31.8 positive job performance but in December it was 40.9 so were talking about, roughly, a nine point difference
PINSONAT: Yeah it's pretty historic, because Kathleen (Blanco), he's right about where Kathleen was when she took a huge hit in her popularity because of the voters perception that she wasn't doing a very good job related to her efforts after Katrina. And of course the only other person to get down the number was Edwin Edwards, when he was having, I guess you'd say, low point in being governor in any one of those four years, when you get to about 31%, you don't have, we don't have anything lower than that in recent modern time since poling's come. So, Jindal's right around, adds his name to two of the governors who for various reasons had real problems
SABLUDOWSKY: Sure, one a major hurricane, one--two major hurricanes--and the other one being indicted. I mean that's great company, huh?
SABLUDOWSKY:getting to the issue that were talking about before, according to the poll, the public doesn't want to beat itself up anymore-- it knows it must raise revenue. Now having said that, Jindal saying that he's not going to raise taxes, but he's also said again, that he's going to balance the budget, not raise any tax and save higher ed and also healthcare, and...therefore you have a dichotomy, you have Jindal who wants to be president saying no taxes and you have the rest of the state, at least two thirds the state roughly or more, about 70% of the state basically saying, look...we've got to raise revenues, we can't we can't let our universities and our healthcare just to go to complete pot.
PINSONAT: Well, I don't know what to say but Jindal, he's governor, he's been around now, entering into his eighth year, about mid-way of it. I can talk about Jindal all I want, but Bobby Jindal is in charge of his destiny, he's in charge of his popularity, you can look at the poll and it's very easy to tell why he suffering. In the latest poll, one of the interesting things was--for the first time, he's even dropped down with Republican voters, the budget crisis and all the discussion about cuts, for the first time, dramatically affected him with his Republican base.
SABLUDOWSKY: Sure and if you're a legislator, if you're a Republican legislator, and you've always voted against taxes and you look at a poll like this and you're looking at what's my options? I got to hold my nose and raise taxes. I've got to not not raise taxes. I've got to--we may have a veto override session.
PINSONAT: Well that's a very distinct possibility. I think the one of the things you can easily look at and decide if your a legislator and you look at what the options are, and the public, is pretty much agree with the approach that taking so far-- and look, there is one stark difference between Jindal and the legislature. He's finished in Louisiana. He's going on to something else. But they're stuck here and most of them have to run for reelection in this budget disaster that's pending right before their eyes is a major problem for citizens in Louisiana, the taxpayers. They've kind of gotten used to it, but 1.6 billion, Steve
PINSONAT: It is something totally different and I don't know anybody can imagine 1.6 cut out of this budget if it would be that much and not expect state to dramatically suffer--so legislators are aware of this, they know that, this is...
PINSONAT: Yea, but this is something they've never experienced. They have not been paying a lot of attention to it because it's been talked about and talked about and we've had this happen the last 5 or 6 years but nothing of this magnitude and the other thing..the legislature is now in session, Steve, so something has got to be done about it. I think you are going to see them paying a little more attention because now it's crunch time. They've heard about it, they've heard about it, and will the legislature get out of this mess. For the last six months or so were talking about the inevitability of faces this consequence and now we're here. And I think the public is paying is paying a little more attention because, because it's real, and it's something that could happen that's why, the legislature is here. And the other thing I'll say very bluntly is according to this poll they want them to act responsibly and avoid this. They're not willing to tolerate massive cuts again into the budget