Southeastern Gubernatorial Poll: Jindal holds commanding lead
Contact: Rene Abadie
Full text of the Southeastern Poll
HAMMOND -- Two weeks before election day, U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal holds a commanding lead over his opponents in the 2007 statewide gubernatorial primary although a substantial percentage of voters remain undecided, according to a Southeastern Louisiana University poll.
Data gathered from registered voters throughout the state questioned by faculty and students in the Southeastern Social Sciences Research Center show that 46 percent of registered voters would vote for Jindal, compared to Democratic State Sen. Walter Boasso at 10 percent, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Democrat, at 6 percent, and independent candidate and businessman John Georges at 9 percent, said Kurt Corbello, associate professor of political science at Southeastern and director of the poll.
The Southeastern poll results, based on a statewide random sample of 641 registered voters, was conducted Oct. 1-7 and has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 4 percent. But, Corbello cautions, “Any statewide polling results must be read with caution, since the catastrophic hurricanes Katrina and Rita have caused demographic shifts that make assurances of representative random sampling somewhat problematic.”
The entire study is available under the “News & Events” link at www.selu.edu.
Corbello said a surprising 29 percent of voters said they were undecided or refused to state a preference. However, when the undecided “leaners” are apportioned among the candidates, Jindal has 49.6 percent, Boasso 11.2 percent, Georges 10.8 percent and Campbell 6.2 percent. Slightly more than 22 percent remain undecided or refused to answer.
The poll incorporated into the study the actual past voting behavior, determined through vote frequency in five statewide elections, as a rough method for determining the likelihood that someone would vote on election day.
“This is perhaps the best indicator of the candidates’ standings at this point in time,” Corbello said. “When we factor in undecided leaners and chronic voters, Jindal continues to lead with more than 49 percent.”
Jindal, a Republican now in his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives who lost in a tight gubernatorial runoff election to Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, is a strong candidate across all demographic groups that make up the Louisiana electorate, Corbello said. In the areas of gender, party, age, region, education, or income, Jindal leads his primary opponents substantially.
Corbello said, however, a huge 45.7 percent of black voters were undecided or refused to answer in the poll. Boasso appears to lead among black voters with 21.5 percent compared to Jindal’s 17.7 percent, Campbell’s 8 percent, and George’s 7 percent
“Bobby Jindal appears to benefit from slow changes in Louisiana political culture that started over 40 years ago with the issues and events that produced Republican growth throughout the South,” Corbello said. “Those changes were perhaps enlivened by the catastrophic storms Katrina and Rita.”
In addition to the governor’s race, the poll also examined the performance of current Governor Blanco and measured voters’ attitudes toward several social issues.
“Governor Blanco ends her time in office with a better approval rating than some would expect,” he said. More than 45 percent of the voters polled approved of her performance over the past four years; 43 percent disapproved of her performance, and only about 11 percent were undecided or refused to evaluate her.
According to Corbello’s poll, 21 percent of those polled said education is the most important problem facing the state today, followed by corruption and corrupt politicians (9.2 percent), crime (8.7 percent), hurricane recovery (7.3 percent), and jobs and unemployment (6.6 percent). Other problem areas mentioned included health care and insurance, the economy, state government and leadership, politics and politicians, coastal erosion and wetlands; and roads and infrastructure.