A majority of Louisiana voters say the state is heading in the “wrong direction.”
The state’s biggest problems are education and unemployment, they told researchers from the University of New Orleans in a recent survey.
Both Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Democratic President Barack Obama are not well-liked — earning 40 percent and 38 percent job approval ratings, respectively.
The UNO poll surveyed 590 registered voters in Louisiana by phone, covering perceptions of the state, health care and the looming U.S. Senate election next week and its potential December runoff.
“All indications point to an extremely tight Senate election in Louisiana between incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Bill Cassidy,” Ed Chervenak, director of the UNO Survey Research Center, said in a statement. “The most likely scenario is a runoff election between Landrieu and Cassidy in December, with the advantage going to the Republican contender.”
Cassidy, Landrieu and Republican Rob Maness squared off Wednesday in the final debate before the election.
The UNO poll was conducted Oct. 11-24 and has a 4 percent margin of error.
Like most recent polls, UNO’s found that Landrieu is likely to come out ahead in next week’s primary but won’t get the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
In December, it found, Cassidy would be favored to win.
An LSU poll last month found that Louisiana Republicans are more galvanized in this year’s election cycle. That poll’s findings, on topics of Obama’s approval rating, the economy and health care, closely resemble the UNO results.
The UNO poll found that 52 percent of registered voters surveyed said Louisiana is heading in the wrong direction, compared with 33 percent who said the state is moving in the right direction.
When asked about the biggest problem facing the state, 19 percent said education and 11 percent said unemployment.
About 7 percent named Jindal as the state’s biggest problem, while 2 percent indicated the Common Core education standards, which Jindal has spent recent months fighting against.
Republicans were less optimistic about the state’s economy than Democrats, and there was a sharp racial divide on Obama’s approval, with blacks more likely than whites to approve of the president’s performance.
On the health care section, 62 percent of those surveyed said they would support Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, which Jindal and other Republicans have opposed.
More than half of the respondents said they oppose the Affordable Care Act, but the poll found that respondents supported several of key features of it — the creation of an insurance marketplace, guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and government assistance for those who can’t afford insurance.
“After being exposed to specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, all groups of respondents became less opposed and more favorable toward it,” the poll results note.