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Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni talks about his education task force at the Parish President's office in Elmwood, La. Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. Yenni, who admitted to improperly texting a 17-year-old boy in 2015, has been banned from attending Jefferson Parish schools by the school board. The task force has no legal binding and is only advisory to the school board. Members of the task force include Mayra Pineda, left, Vinicio Madrigal, second left, Marie Clesi, second right, and Diane Roussel.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

There's a difference between surviving and thriving.

If Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni didn't know that already, that's the message he should take away from a new University of New Orleans poll.

Yenni remains in office following a failed recall attempt, which was spurred by news that he'd been involved in a sexting relationship with a 17-year-old boy who says the politician had also given him gifts and briefly kissed him.

But if he took the recall drive's shortfall as a sign that his troubles are behind him, the UNO poll should come as a wake-up call. Just 29 percent of voters interviewed said they approve of his performance, while 46 percent disapprove. This despite the fact that his administration seems to be handling its governmental duties just fine.

The recall effort was always going to be a long shot, given the daunting requirement that Yenni critics gather 90,000 signatures, or a third of all registered voters, just to get the question on the ballot. That's more than the total number of votes cast when Yenni won his first term two years ago; he had under 46,000 votes when he easily defeated Elton Lagasse and a handful of lesser-known hopefuls in that election.

So for anyone looking to take Yenni out the old-fashioned way two years from now — and at least a few Jefferson Parish pols already are — the bar is only about half as high as it was for the recall drive. Just like the poor poll showing, these numbers too should weigh on Yenni as he ponders his future. 

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.

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