Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter leads a new poll out on the Louisiana governor’s race.
But the poll, conducted by the Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research, also finds that Vitter is the most polarizing figure in a hypothetical match-up against fellow Republicans Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.
According to the poll, the governor’s race — nearly a year out — would end up in a runoff between Vitter and Edwards.
“Vitter receives an 80 percent positive job performance from his Republican base,” the SMOR report notes. “Vitter’s 67 percent job approval rating from white voters contributes to his strong poll numbers projecting him as the early favorite to succeed as Louisiana’s next governor.”
When asked to rate the favorability of the four candidates tested, about 52.2 percent of the survey’s respondents had a positive view of Vitter. About 40.4 percent said they find him unfavorable.
Dardenne was rated most favorably at 58.1 percent. Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission, suffers from a lack of name recognition.
The statewide poll, conducted Dec. 9-11, is based on telephone interviews (landline and cellphone) of 600 likely Louisiana voters. It was funded by private subscribers, according to SMOR.
The margin of error is +/- 4 percent.
The poll surveyed participants on a variety of Louisiana political topics:
About 52.6 percent of respondents said they support Medicaid expansion through the federal Affordable Care Act.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s job approval rating is about 41 percent.
President Barack Obama’s job approval in Louisiana is about 38.9 percent.
According to the poll’s findings, the top issues for the next governor are education, economic development and health care.
As for the state’s budget woes, the poll found that half of respondents say the state should increase corporate income taxes, and 48.5 percent agreed the state should do away with tax exemptions that favor certain businesses. About 46.6 percent said they would be OK with across-the-board cuts to state agencies.