JBE at LPA

John Bel Edwards speaks to the Louisiana Press Association Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at the City Club in downtown Baton Rouge. Edwards declined to answer questions about the alleged break-in at the governor’s mansion early last Wednesday.

If Gov. John Bel Edwards is thinking of a number these days, it might well be 47. That’s the percentage of Louisianans interviewed by LSU researchers who said they think the state’s heading in the right direction.

It’s also Edwards’ approval rating among registered voters interviewed in the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest release from Morning Consult, a national polling firm that surveys people in all 50 states quarterly.

Stephanie Grace: LSU poll isn't about election, but Gov. John Bel Edwards has to like what he sees

Forty-seven, of course, is a few points shy of the 50 percent (plus one vote) the Democratic governor would need to win reelection in the fall primary against two Republican challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone. It’s also down from Edwards’ ratings in this poll throughout 2017, which were above 50 percent, but about the same as he scored throughout 2018.

Still, the total sounds better when you consider that just 32 percent expressed disapproval. The rest said they’d never heard Edwards, which kind of makes you think that not too many of them will bother to go to the polls.

It also puts him in the same ballpark as Louisiana’s two Republican senators. John Kennedy, who spent months teasing a possible gubernatorial challenge before deciding to stay put, scored 49 percent among the same voters interviewed. Bill Cassidy, who is up for reelection next year, wound up with the same approval rating as the governor, 47 percent.

If you’re Edwards, here’s an even more encouraging comparison. Just one other incumbent governor, Kentucky’s Matt Bevin, is up for reelection this fall. Like Louisiana, Kentucky is a red state. Unlike Edwards, Bevin is a Republican. But while Edwards’ 47 percent approval rating puts him in the middle of the pack nationwide — tied for 29th most popular, to be exact — Bevin’s lowly 33 percent marks him as the least liked governor in America.


Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.