Wednesday, 03 April 2013 23:05

SMOR Poll: Jindal a bummer, Landrieu a goner?

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jindal-landrieuSouthern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) has come out with its latest survey on Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La) and Senator Mary Landrieu.  The survey shows Gov. Jindal with an approval rating of 38% while U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) has an approval rating of 56% with just 12% giving her an excellent rating.



 Politicians do not like polls by independent pollsters.  That is because those poll results are usually not kept secret.  When such polls do come out, the spin doctors go to work.  Accentuate the positive; explain away the negative.  In this instance, Governor Jindal cannot be happy with his latest poll numbers, and he should not be.  Senator Landrieu is looking at a mixed bag. 

Governor Jindal.  The poll numbers are not good.  Whenever an incumbent has numbers below 40%, the incumbent is considered vulnerable.  In this case Gov. Jindal is term limited, but his ability to lead, especially with the very important upcoming April 8th legislative session, is severely weakened.  This is at a time when the governor needs all the stroke he can muster. 

Of particular concern is the broad lack of support in the survey for the elimination of the state personal and corporate income taxes coupled with an increase in the state sales tax.  This is the governor's big plan for tax reform. Voters don't like the idea, and the SMOR survey shows that.  Now comes a published report by LaPolitics Weekly that the tax plan is on hold. 

Voters are also unhappy about the budget cuts that have been made over the past several years.  Enough is enough they are saying. 

This legislative session will be a tough one for the governor and his leaders in the House and Senate.  Individual legislators know what is happening back home in their respective districts.  With numbers like they are statewide, poll numbers in the local districts are most likely similar or worse, and legislators will be much more cautious about voting for proposals that do not have support back home.  Many times legislators will support controversial proposals when the governor is popular and can provide political cover. This is not the case today. 

Gov. Jindal needs to take a moment and look in the mirror.  The voters of this state are upset.  Many of his earliest supporters, his most loyal supporters, are disappointed in him. Just ask them, and they will tell you. Their hopes and expectations of the kind of governor that Bobby Jindal would be have been dashed.  Bobby's numerous trips out of state have made voters feel that he is not interested in being Louisiana's Governor particularly at a time when Louisiana has been hit hard by a national recession, and state revenue has fallen causing dramatic budget cuts especially for higher education and health care. 

People want leaders and expect leadership.  Bobby was elected to provide the leadership that the prior administration lacked.  He needs to put his further political ambitions on hold and look to the business of running the state.  No more out of state trips.  He should focus on Louisiana.  Do this, and he can recover.  If he continues traveling around the country, he may lose control of the ship and never be able to recover.  Bobby Jindal governed and led in his first term.  Now is the time for him to resume the leadership role that he let slip away before it is too late.  And above all don't underestimate Bobby Jindal. 

Senator Mary Landrieu.  Sen. Landrieu's poll numbers are a tale of two people.  While her approval rating is good, her re-election numbers give pause for concern.  While Sen. Landrieu receives the approval of fifty-six percent of respondents, only thirty-seven percent are willing to commit to vote to re-elect her to the Senate seat she will have held for eighteen years when her current term expires in January, 2015. 

It is quite problematic for Sen. Landrieu who supported the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care.  She has supported tax increases and supported the democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate.  None of these is popular in Louisiana especially Obama Care.  To defeat Sen. Landrieu republicans must field a candidate who is not perceived as extreme on the issues.  Sen. Landrieu will use announced candidate Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy's (R-La) voting record against him calling him too extreme on the issues.  She will also tout all that she has done for the state.  Rep. Cassidy, on the other hand, will call Sen. Landrieu the extremist, a liberal, pointing out her support for Obama Care and other initiatives put forth by President Obama, who lost big to Mitt Romney in Louisiana in the last presidential election, and democrats in congress. 

Republicans must work to make sure that only one credible republican runs for Senator. If more than one credible republican enters the race, Sen. Landrieu will sit back in the primary (November 2014) and tout her ability to deliver for the state while the republican candidates attack one another.  In the runoff one month later, she will be in a commanding position to be re-elected. 

Not that long ago I considered Gov. Jindal the favorite in the race against Sen. Landrieu.  But the governor's sights are set elsewhere, and so this race will not happen.  Nonetheless the race will be a whopper that will be watched all over America and  especially in Washington, D.C. where democrats look to hold on to their majority control of the U.S. Senate.  Republicans, on the other hand, are looking for a pickup.  But, given the talented ability of republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, a pickup of this seat is no guarantee.

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Lawrence Chehardy

For thirty-four years Lawrence Chehardy served as Assessor of Jefferson Parish. He has been the leading authority on Louisiana’s property tax laws. In addition to his political commentary and public speaking engagements, Lawrence Chehardy is a founding member of the Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes Law Firm and serves as its managing partner.

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