New poll finds many Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for botched response to Hurricane Katrina

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It's been a busy week for Louisiana polls and pollsters, and this morning Talking Points Memo provided a sneak look at a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of 274 Louisiana Republican primary voters, taken Aug. 16-19.

The poll's top line regarded preferences for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, and it pitted Gov. Bobby Jindal against a wide field of Republican leaders: former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez, Ky. Sen. Rand Paul, Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisc. Rep. Paul Ryan and former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum. (Jindal scored 10 percent support among Louisiana Republicans, putting him in the middle of the pack, but behind "Someone else/not sure.")

But it was the answer to this question that raised eyebrows:

Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?

28%
George W. Bush
.............................................
29%
Barack Obama
................................................
44%
Not sure

A statistically insignificant difference, to be sure. Of course, Bush was president at the time and Obama was a freshman Illinois senator in his first year of office. (In the crosstabs, older people were more likely to blame Obama, while younger voters were likely to be not sure.)


But it raises a further question: Why was it asked in the first place? PPP, which largely conducts polling for Democratic and liberal groups, is fond of throwing curveballs. In 2011, PPP asked GOP voters whether they thought either Obama or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be Raptured into heaven (19 percent thought Obama would; 51 percent thought Palin would). Three months ago, PPP conducted a poll about Americans' attitude toward "hipsters," which included a question about whether hipsters just “soullessly appropriate cultural tropes from the past for their own ironic amusement.”  It also asked respondents to rate the palatability of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. 

Whatever the motivation behind the Katrina question, it's sure to be used as ammo against Louisiana Republicans' brain power (and ammo against Louisianans as a whole), while it also will give conservatives a chance to squawk they were set up.

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