Race to the Bottom

I don’t know if Sen. Marco Rubio’s nothing-burger of a SOTU response cheered his fellow aspirant to the Republican Great Minority Hope title, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. On the one hand, Jindal is no longer the latest failure in this role. On the other, lots of Rubio fans almost certainly said last night: “Well, at least he wasn’t as bad as Bobby.” In case you need to refresh your memory of that evening in 2009:

Jindal can only hope that memories are firmer of his speech last month to the RNC in Charlotte, which drew rave reviews from fellow-GOPers cheered at his advice that they didn’t have to change a thing about their message other than eschewing total stupidity, and from MSM types who clearly did not read it at all.

But in the mean-time, Jindal needs to watch his back. There are fresh signs today that his popularity in Louisiana is–well, calling it a free fall is probably unfair, but the trend lines are not pointing in the right direction, according to a new PPP survey:

When PPP last polled Louisiana in 2010, Bobby Jindal was one of the most popular Governors in the country. 58% of voters approved of the job he was doing to just 34% who disapproved. Over the last two and a half years though there’s been a massive downward shift in Jindal’s popularity, and he is now one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Just 37% of voters now think he’s doing a good job to 57% who are unhappy with him.

The decline in Jindal’s popularity cuts across party lines. Where he was at 81/13 with Republicans in August 2010, now it’s 59/35. Where he was at 67/22 with independents back then, now he’s at 41/54. And what was a higher than normal amount of crossover support from Democrats at 33/58 is now 15/78. There was a time when Jindal probably would have been seen as a slam dunk candidate for Republicans against Mary Landrieu in 2014. But now he actually trails Landrieu 49/41 in a hypothetical match up.

In case you’re one of those people who think PPP cooks the books for Democrats and against Republicans (though the firm significantly under-estimated Barack Obama’s margin of victory last year), a Republican polling firm last month found a similar slide in Bobby’s job approval levels, from 64% in September of 2011 to 51% a year later, and 46% now.

This is one “race to the bottom” that Jindal, who generally seems determined to immiserate the people of his state to make it more attractive to “job-creators,” doesn’t want to win.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.