Police Funerals Baton Rouge

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, speaks during funeral services for Baton Rouge police Cpl. Montrell Jackson at the Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, July 25, 2016. (Patrick Dennis/Baton Rouge Advocate via AP, Pool) 

Patrick Dennis

For a new governor who has been forced to raise taxes, cut government services and oversee a month of racially charged turmoil and tragedy in the state's capital city, Gov. John Bel Edwards is doing pretty well in the eyes of voters.

A new University of New Orleans poll, taken after three painful legislative sessions, the videotaped police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and assassination of three officers less than two weeks later, found that about half of the likely voters surveyed approve of Edwards' stewardship.

His 49 percent job approval rating, compared to 36 percent who disapprove, may not set the world afire. But given that Edwards is a Democrat running a Republican state, and that he spent his first six months in office trying to clean up the fiscal mess that ex-Gov. Bobby Jindal left behind, things could be a lot worse. The automated telephone poll of 614 people, taken July 27 and 28, likely reflects the high marks Edwards has received for his sensitive, hands-on management of the Baton Rouge crises.

Not at all surprisingly, opinion of Edwards varies according to the respondents' party affiliation. Seventy-five percent Democrats said they like his performance, compared to 26 percent of Republicans. Independents split right down the middle.

These figures suggest that other Republican politicians who make a point of contrasting themselves with Edwards — specifically Treasurer John Kennedy, a candidate for U.S. Senate, and Attorney General Jeff Landry, a possible gubernatorial challenger in 2019 — are basically preaching to their respective choirs.

Just like last fall, when Edwards trounced Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter to win the office, it seems as if plenty of voters are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. All he needs to do is hang on to that feeling for, oh, another three and half years.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.