New Orleans businessman John Georges said Friday that a new poll shows Gov. Bobby Jindal’s popularity wanes when voters are confronted with campaign issues.
But the poll also shows that Jindal still likely would win reelection.
Georges, who ran a distant third to Jindal in 2007, said he and other businessmen commissioned the Florida-based Market Research Insight poll to see how strong Jindal is as the governor faces re-election Oct. 22.
Voters were asked twice whether they would vote to re-elect Jindal. The percentage responding in favor of voting for Jindal dropped after a number of issues — such as the governor raising campaign funds outside Louisiana — were raised during the survey.
“He needs nearly 70 percent of the white vote to win,” Georges said. “He starts at 60 and falls to 50. That is significant.”
So far, no well-financed candidates have announced plans to challenge the Republican Jindal.
Georges said he is not running. In 2007 gubernatorial race, which Jindal won outright in the primary, the New Orleans businessman ran without party affiliation and polled 186,682 votes or 14 percent of the total cast.
Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s campaign aide, said he has not seen Georges’ survey. He said the governor’s own polling shows roughly 60 percent of voters are in favor of re-electing Jindal.
“I do like 62 percent better than 50 percent. But either way, I’d be happy if the election were held today,” Teepell said.
Teepell said a poll is a one-sided exercise that does not allow a candidate to respond to attacks. He said leading questions can influence a poll’s numbers.
Market Research Insight polled 500 white voters across Louisiana between July 29 and Aug. 1. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. Georges released the results Friday.
The polling firm terminated the survey if anyone in the household worked for the news media, an advertising or public relations company or an elected official.
More than 30 percent of the respondents lived in the New Orleans area. Another 19 percent lived in the Baton Rouge area. Twenty percent lived in the Shreveport and Monroe areas, according to the poll.
The third question in the survey asked: “If an election for governor (were) held today, would you want to see Bobby Jindal re-elected or would you prefer that someone else be given a chance to do better?”
According to the survey, 62 percent said they would vote to elect Jindal to a second term as governor.
The survey questioners then read “several things being said by those who oppose Jindal’s re-election.” Those things included Jindal’s recently published book, his travels out of state to raise money for his campaign fund and his push to sell prisons. The questioners also alleged that Jindal “only appoints people to boards and commissions who contribute to his campaign fund.”
Those surveyed were asked again if they “plan to vote for his re-election.” Fifty percent said they did.
Georges said he and unnamed businessmen have been doing polls for more than 20 years because they want to know what really is going on.
Verne Kennedy, founder and president of Market Research Insight, based in Gulf Breeze, Fla., said the survey represents roughly 75 percent of voters in an election with strong turnout.
“With 62 percent ‘re-elect’ among whites that equals just under 50 percent of all voters even if Jindal got 10 percent of African-American vote. In my experience, well-known incumbents with under a 50 percent ‘re-elect’ score have about a 50 percent chance of re-election if opposed by one or more strong candidates with financial resources to run a major campaign,” Kennedy said Friday.
Jindal probably has nothing to worry about since no other well-financed candidate has jumped into the race, Kennedy said. Jindal has raised more than $12 million for his re-election. Qualifying is in less than a month.
Kennedy said he polled only white voters because, as a Republican, Jindal is unlikely to attract many black voters.
Also conducting a poll is state Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete. Marionneaux is considering whether to run against Jindal. He is expected to announce his plans next week.
Former Gov. Mike Foster, who hired Jindal to be part of his cabinet, predicted that Jindal will be hard to beat in the upcoming election.
Foster said Friday candidates who run against the governor might be masochists who are running purely to lose.
“Bobby, whether you like him or don’t like him, I think he’s honest and he tries hard,” Foster said.