The Advocate Blog Network

Banner image

Bobby Jindal scores low in New Hampshire, Iowa polls

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is taking a backseat on the stages where Republican Party stars campaign for Bill Cassidy.

Potential GOP presidential candidates U.S. Sens. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio, of Florida, along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and tea party favorite Dr. Ben Carson, of Maryland, have all come to Louisiana to rally voters to U.S. Rep. Cassidy’s effort to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Dec. 6 runoff.

Part of the reason could be found in a poll released this week that shows Jindal has a net favorable rating of 20 percent among New Hampshire voters and net unfavorable rating of 21 percent, according to the survey of 989 likely Granite State voters by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and Bloomberg Politics website.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, walks with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal during a campaign stop in De Witt, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, right, walks with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal during a campaign stop in De Witt, Iowa, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. (AP Photo)

Of the visiting GOP dignitaries, only Carson had a lower favorable rating at 19 percent but his net unfavorable rating was 10.

Jindal told Meet the Press last week, when asked about his current unpopularity in Louisiana, that he doesn’t care about polls.

New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary vote, Jan. 26, 2016, and if it was held today, Mitt Romney, who the GOP standard bearer in 2012, would be the overwhelming favorite among Republican primary voters, with 30 percent, the poll showed.

Jindal came in near the bottom with 3 percent of the vote, but ahead of Perry, who had 2 percent.

If Romney is not in the field, then Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are ahead at 16, Jindal and Perry trail the field with 4 and 3 percent, respectively.

Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire attorney general and longtime primary watcher who supported Romney in 2012, was quoted in the Saint Anselm press release accompanying the poll as saying the early polling is certain to change in the coming months, as local coverage of the primary is added to the mix of what has been mostly national coverage. Rath said that the “center-right” part of the potential candidate lineup is still unformed.

Jindal’s presidential numbers are only marginally better in Iowa, where the first inkling of voter preference for presidential candidates is found when the parties hold caucuses on Jan. 18, 2016.

Jindal had a 41 percent favorable rating in Iowa and a 14 percent unfavorable, according to a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of 425 likely 2016 Republican caucus goers conducted in October. He was the first choice of 1 percent of the likely caucus goers and as the second choice for 4 percent.

Next month, Jindal will make his fourth trip to Iowa of the year.


F. King Alexander, Sandra Woodley among AASCU event speakers

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities, a higher education advocacy group, will meet next week in New Orleans, and the event’s speakers include LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and University of Louisiana System President Sandra Woodley.

The event runs Wednesday through Friday at the Jw Marriott.

Woodley and Alexander will serve on a panel together on the opening day and “offer strategies for how both college leaders and elected officials can work together to maintain and advance the missions of these institutions to effectively serve students.”

Alexander also will moderate a discussion with Suzanne Mettler, Clinton Rossiter Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University on Thursday.

Bobby Jindal could be first Indian American to run for president

India West newspaper reports that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will decide in the first half of next year on whether he is running for president in 2016, pushing back earlier estimates that the decision would be announced after the holidays.

He has told Louisiana reporters that he would pray about the decision over the holidays, but recently has been giving a later date.

India-West, based in San Leandro, Calif., calls itself the largest weekly Indian newspaper on the West Coast of the United States, points out that if he chooses, Jindal would be the first Indian American to run in the presidential primaries. The article also pointed out that polls show Jindal is fairly unpopular in Louisiana right now.

Jindal has said he doesn’t care about poll numbers.

Some Louisiana communities embrace corporal punishment in public schools

The Louisiana Department of Education showed 4,460 reported incidents of corporal punishment against students in the 2011-2012 school year, according to an analysis by The Huffington Post.

That calculates out to a rate 6.3 incidents of paddling or other physical punishments meted out in the state’s public schools per thousand students.

During that time, Louisiana’s student population was about 708,400 students.

The top 10 parishes for corporal punishment, according to the Huffington Post article, are predominantly rural and in the central and northeastern parts of the state.

Morehouse Parish had the highest rate of school corporal punishment with a rate of 86 per thousand students.

The article noted that the 10 parishes where corporal punishment is most frequent are in communities with a majority white population who identify themselves as evangelical Christians.

The article was written by Shayna A. Pitre, who is a legal researcher and disabled children’s advocate from Baton Rouge, and Chad LaComb, a former school teacher who is now an urban planner in Lafayette.

The full article is available at



Rick Perry to campaign for Bill Cassidy

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be in Louisiana this week to stump for Republican Bill Cassidy.

Events have been scheduled in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and Covington Tuesday to promote early voting. Cassidy, who faces Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Dec. 6 runoff, is slated to cast his vote early that day.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida campaigned for Cassidy over the weekend.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and former Louisiana Gov. Kathleeen Blanco are campaigning for Landrieu in Lafayette today.

Hunter seeking early vote extension

State Rep. Marcus Hunter will seek an expedited hearing when he files a lawsuit Monday challenging the shortened early voting  period  for the Dec. 6 elections.

“I’m hoping to have it heard Tuesday or Wednesday before the judges take off for Thanksgiving,” said Hunter, D-West Monroe.

Hunter objects to Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s eliminating two official state holidays from the normal seven days of early voting – Thursday for Thanksgiving and Friday for Acadian Day.

Hunter said the election which includes the U.S. Senate race runoff at the top of ballot is too important to shorten the time period. The Senate race features veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Early voting started Saturday and will continue through Nov. 29, except for Sunday and the two holidays.

Nearly 50,000 people early voted on Saturday’s opening day. East Baton Rouge topped turnout with 4,608 followed by St. Tammany with 4,255; Orleans, 3,705; Jefferson, 3,055; Calcasieu, 1,816; and Lafayette, 1,739.

Hunter said attached to the lawsuit will be copies of four laws overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature that extend state residents opportunities to vote. Some extend hours and others days for balloting.

“It’s clear the legislative intent is the expand opportunities for voting,” said Hunter. “The secretary of state has chosen in his ministerial capacity to limit voting.”

Hunter argues that Schedler has the authority to require registrar of voters employees to work on the holidays. He said governor’s proclamations for each holiday provide discretion for essential employees to stay on the job.

Schedler said he will not circumvent state law which gives registrars’ offices the holidays. He also cited eight other instances where early voting has been suspended because of holidays ranging from the Fourth of July to Good Friday and Veterans Day.

Hunter said none of the early voting involved a statewide election.


Southern panel considering candidates for president

Langston University President Kent Smith also has been nominated to become president of the Southern University System.

Smith’s nomination wasn’t included in records provided to The Advocate this week by mistake.

The brief nomination email from Jason Scott notes that Smith is a Louisiana native who has degrees from Southern University.

Southern’s presidential search committee is meeting today to discuss candidates.

Two others have been nominated for the job, while one complete application has been submitted.

Nominees also would have to submit the required information to be formally considered under the search committee’s adopted process.

UPDATE: Here’s the story from today’s board meeting.

NYC Democrats plan fundraiser for Mary Landrieu featuring Hillary Clinton

Prominent Democratic advocates Sarah and Victor Kovner will host cocktails with Hillary Clinton in New York on Dec. 1 to raise money for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who’s in danger of losing her seat in a heated Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy.

The Kovners’ Manhattan penthouse has been used for fundraisers for other Democrats in the past, including President Barack Obama.

The event honoring Landrieu will set donors back $1,000 to $12,600.

Here are some details on the Kovners from a news release announcing their support for Christine Quinn’s unsuccessful run for NYC mayor:

“Victor Kovner, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, previously served as New York City Corporations Counsel, under Mayor David Dinkins. Sarah Kovner, was a member of the New York Women for Hillary Council, served as the Deputy Director of the New York State Clinton-Gore campaign and was a special assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services throughout the Clinton administration. She also serves on the board of a number of progressive groups, including NARAL Pro Choice New York and Alliance for Justice. They rank among the top bundlers for President Obama.”

Bobby Jindal’s heading back to Iowa next month, newspaper reports

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be back in Iowa next month to headline the Polk County GOP Holiday Victory Party in Des Moines on Dec. 16, according to The Des Moines Register.

It will be his fourth trip to Iowa this year.

Jindal has been in Florida this week for the Republican Governors Association annual meeting.

Over the weekend, he was in Washington, D.C., for an appearance on Meet The Press.

During that interview, Jindal said he will make a decision whether to run for president in the “first half” of 2015.

“We are praying about this, but the bottom line is let’s restore the American dream for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Rasmussen poll: More than half of Louisiana voters disapprove of Bobby Jindal

A new Rasmussen Reports poll says 54 percent of Louisiana voters disapprove of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s job performance, and respondents here also are more critical of the federal Affordable Care Act than voters nationwide.

The survey’s findings released Thursday focus primarily on Louisiana’s heated U.S. Senate race, which will be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff, but also offer insight into Louisiana voters’ views in other areas.

Only 35 percent of voters view the federal health care law favorably, while 60 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of it. About 58 percent of Louisiana voters disapprove President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 40 percent approve — also below the national average.

Meanwhile, Louisiana voters are significantly more favorable to the Keystone XL pipeline than the nation as a whole.

The release from conservative-leaning Rasmussen also notes: “Voters also continue to complain about the performance of GOP Governor Bobby Jindal.”

In September, the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling of North Carolina reported low approval of Jindal in Louisiana.

The PPP poll put Jindal’s job approval rating at 34 percent — up slightly from the 32 percent the same polling outfit found over the summer. About 68 percent of respondents said Jindal, who is weighing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, definitely should not run for president in 2016.

Rasmussen’s poll actually puts Jindal’s approval higher at 43 percent, with 15 percent saying they “strongly approve.” A USA Today/Suffolk University poll also found Jindal’s favorability at 43 percent in October.

Jindal has consistently said he doesn’t care about polls.

“I don’t care at all about poll numbers,” he said during an appearance on Meet The Press this weekend. “I never have. The reality is, I was elected in Louisiana to make generational changes.”

On the U.S. Senate race, Rasmussen’s poll puts Republican Bill Cassidy with a 15-point lead over Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu — 56 percent to 41 percent, two weeks out from Election Day.

Read more about the poll and its findings here.