(H/t to the Daily Kingfish)
Today, while Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was touting the results of a newly-released “internal” poll showing a 12-point surge in his popularity, Harper Polling, which was founded by the former pollster and deputy executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, released a poll of its own. According to the Harper poll, Bobby Jindal is now one of the least popular Governors in the nation, with an approval rating of only 35%. (It is worth noting that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Kathleen Blanco’s approval dipped to 32% in one poll, but on average, post-Katrina, Blanco polled around 40%. In other words, one could easily make the argument that Bobby Jindal may be the least popular Governor in contemporary Louisiana history).
Although Jindal’s abysmal approval numbers may not be too surprising, the Harper poll also revealed that if Bobby Jindal ran for President against (the already presumptive Democratic candidate) Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Clinton would beat Jindal in Louisiana. Quoting (bold mine):
Second-term Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is occasionally mentioned as a presidential contender in 2016, but he has some work to do back home first. He is deeply unpopular two years after he was re-elected over token opposition. Only 35 percent of respondents view Jindal favorably, versus 51 percent who view him unfavorably. In a hypothetical 2016 presidential matchup, respondents in our poll picked Hillary Clinton over Jindal, 44 to 42 percent.
Although Bill Clinton won Louisiana in both 1992 and 1996, it’s somewhat stunning that any poll (let alone a poll conducted by a reputable GOP outfit) would show Hillary besting Jindal on his own turf.
Jindal and company, however, would prefer that we focus on the results of his “internal” poll, which showed his approval at 50%. And not surprisingly, the media was happy to oblige. This is the headline that appeared in The Times-Picayune:
But there’s one massive, glaring problem with this “internal” poll, a problem that anyone without a dog in this hunt would immediately recognize: It was conducted by OnMessage, and a principal and the head of OnMessage’s Southern division is a man named Timmy Teepell. Mr. Teepell not only managed both of Jindal’s Congressional campaigns and Jindal’s last two Gubernatorial campaigns, he also served as Governor Jindal’s Chief of Staff.
Mr. Teepell’s numbers aren’t just “slightly off” from every other recent poll; Mr. Teepell’s two most recent polls on Jindal (one showing him at 46% and this one, which shows him at 50%) are so far outside of the margins reported by other pollsters, at the very least, one must consider the possibility that OnMessage is either using a radically different methodology (in which case, they should justify) or, more nefariously, that Bobby Jindal’s former campaign manager and chief of staff is purposely skewing data in order to advance a deceptive counter-narrative.
Consider this (bold mine):
According to the poll released Monday by OnMessage, Inc., half of those polled approved of the governor’s job performance while 46 percent disapproved. The numbers were a four point increase over previous OnMessage ratings for the governor.
But they represented over a 12 point increase when compared with polling numbers released in April by Southern Media & Opinion Research — a firm with funding from conservative businessman Lane Grigsby — and a 13 point increase over a February poll released by Public Policy Polling.
Also on Monday, another poll released by Conservative Intelligence Briefing put Jindal’s approval rating at 35 percent, two points lower than PPP’s numbers from six months ago.
At the very least, it is suspicious that while three other, independent polls have placed Jindal’s approval in Louisiana between 35% and 38%, Timmy Teepell and his team at OnMessage have consistently claimed that Jindal is vastly more popular. And because three different pollsters have placed Jindal’s approval under 38%, Mr. Teepell and OnMessage should be willing to prove why they, alone, are right and everyone else is so completely wrong. Otherwise, Mr. Teepell’s poll looks like nothing but a disingenuous ploy, an attempt to manufacture popularity by misleading Louisiana voters about the opinions of the vast majority of their neighbors.
In politics, there is no such thing as a coincidence, and it’s not surprising that Jindal decided to release his own “internal” poll numbers on the same exact day as Harper Polling published the results of their poll. And considering The Times-Picayune decided to lead with Jindal’s internal numbers and not with the results of a third-party poll, it seems to have worked, just as planned, for Team Jindal.
Unfortunately for them, however, a house of cards is doomed to collapse.