On the eve of the Nov. 4 election, the University of New Orleans (UNO) Survey Research Center released a poll surveying Louisiana voters on three topics: the state of the state, health care policy and the U.S. Senate race. The biggest takeaway: Likely voters prefer U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the primary, but if the Senate race goes to a runoff, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy is favored.
The survey, which was conducted by telephone Oct. 11-24, sampled 590 registered voters and has a plus-or-minus 4.1 percent margin of error. Among its findings:
• Voters across the board are unhappy with the direction they perceive Louisiana is taking — particularly black voters, women voters and registered Democrats.
• Asked to name Louisiana's biggest problem, the overwhelming response was education, cited by 19 percent of respondents. The No. 2 answer, unemployment, came in at 11 percent.
• President Barack Obama has a 38 percent job approval rating in Louisiana, with 57 percent of those questioned disapproving of his performance. Disapproval was strongest among Republicans and Independents. Gov. Bobby Jindal's approval rating wasn't much better. In fact, it was within the margin of error of Obama's: 40 percent approve of Jindal's performance; 53 percent disapprove.
• By a two-to-one margin, voters thought Louisiana should have accepted the federal Medicaid dollars that would have come with expanding the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in the state. Overall, voters don't like Obamacare, yet large majorities approve of some of the law's most important provisions — creating a health insurance marketplace, requiring health insurance companies to cover persons with pre-existing conditions, and requiring all Americans to have health insurance (with the government providing financial help to those who can't afford it). Other surveys also show voters overwhelmingly support requiring health insurance companies to cover insureds' children to age 26.
• While Landrieu topped Cassidy in percentage of primary votes (38 percent to 33 percent), if the race goes to a December runoff between the two, the numbers switch, with Cassidy receiving 51 percent of the vote to Landrieu's 43 percent. Support for the third major candidate, Col. Rob Maness, a Republican, is only 7 percent in the primary.
Download a copy of the poll at www.tinyurl.com/2014unopoll.