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Gov. John Bel Edwards makes a point while answering a question as he speaks at the Press Club of Baton Rouge luncheon Monday Jan. 7, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

Morning Consult, the national polling firm that issues quarterly reports on the popularity of governors and senators, is out with its latest numbers today. And the results shed some interesting light on Louisiana’s governor race, and one longtime critic's decision not to enter the contest.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is seeking his second term this fall in a state that usually elects Republicans, earned a 49 percent approval rating. Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, who took a good long time mulling over whether to challenge Edwards before finally deciding to stay put, got positive marks from 48 percent of the same voters asked their opinion last fall. So a hypothetical head-to-head contest would have started off as a wash.

Both ratings are better than they might seem at first, because not everyone who doesn’t approve actually disapproves. In Edwards’ case, 30 percent said they disapprove, and the rest offered no opinion one way or the other. Kennedy was viewed negatively by 24 percent.

That low disapproval figure is particularly key in Edwards’ case, because these are the people who would likely be looking for an alternative on Election Day. So one more takeaway here is that the governor’s two announced Republican opponents, Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham, can’t count on knee-jerk opposition to Edwards to carry their candidacies. And the poll found that fewer than half of Republicans surveyed have a negative opinion, which makes a strategy built mainly around party preference difficult.

One more interesting tidbit from the poll: Kennedy’s Senate colleague Bill Cassidy had similar numbers, with 46 percent approving and 26 percent disapproving. Cassidy has never shown any interest in the 2019 governor race, but he is up for reelection in 2020. Which is really right around the corner.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.