Gov. Jindal's popularity slips in latest opinion poll

Baton Rouge, La. - Lingering dissatisfaction over higher education and budget cuts, along with pessimism over the state's direction contributed to Gov. Bobby Jindal's declining popularity in Southern Media Opinion & Research Inc.'s latest statewide survey.

The governor received a 38 percent approval rating in the spring 2013 survey, compared to 51 percent last October. A number of issues contributed to Jindal's low performance, including state cuts to higher education and health care, plans to privatize the charity hospital system and the governor's proposed state tax overhaul.

Gov. Jindal's proposed tax reform plan was particularly unpopular. Sixty-three percent opposed the plan to abolish personal and corporate income taxes and raise state sales taxes, while only 27 percent supported it.

Developed and conducted by Southern Opinion & Media Research, the poll was based on telephone interviews conducted March 18-20 with 600 randomly selected Louisiana voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.

  • The prospect of more state budget cuts was unpopular with 60 percent of respondents saying the budget has been cut enough compared to 33 percent who supported further reductions. Additional cuts in health care and higher education were especially unpopular with opposition to each reaching almost 80 percent.
  • Forty-seven percent of respondents said state budget cuts have had a negative impact on them or their families. This is likely the result of Louisiana's large number of low-income families, cuts to state employee rolls and budget cuts to hospitals and higher education.
  • With lawmakers set to debate term limits for statewide elected officials this year, the proposal appears to be popular among voters. Eighty-three percent of respondents supported limiting terms for statewide elected officials.
  • While U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has sparred publicly with Jindal over his refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, respondents were virtually split. Forty-nine percent agreed with Landrieu that Jindal's decision was politically motivated, compared to 46 percent who agreed with Jindal's claim the expansion would be too expensive for the state.
  • While Landrieu has an approval rating of 56 percent, only 12 percent of respondents gave her an "excellent" rating. Meanwhile, the number who said they would "definitely" vote for Landrieu was nearly identical to those who said they would definitely vote for someone else - 37 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
  • Gov. Jindal office released a statement Tuesday morning saying, "We care more about the unemployment numbers than approval numbers, and right now, we still have too many Louisianians unemployed and underemployed.  That's why our number one focus is growing the economy and creating jobs so that we can make Louisiana the best place in the world to raise a family and find a good paying job."