Louisiana Gubernatorial Election
Election Date: November 15, 2003

Latest Polls | Latest News Stories

Bobby Jindal (R)
Age: 32
Education: B.A. Brown University, 1991; Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, 1994.
Political Experience: Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001-2003); President of the University of Louisiana System (1999-2000); Executive Director, National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare (Breaux-Thomas Commission, 1998); Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (1996-1997)
Professional Experience: Consultant, McKinsey & Company (1994-1995)
Personal: Born in Baton Rouge, LA in 1971. Married to Supriya Jolly, father of one child.
Religion: Catholic
Profiles/Interviews: Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire | Rediff (October 5, 2003) | New Orleans Times-Picayune (September 2, 2003) | Brown Alumni Magazine (May/June 1998)

Kathleen Blanco (D)
Age: 60
Education: B.S. Business Education, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 1964
Political Experience: Lieutenant Governor, State of Louisiana (1996-2003); Louisiana Public Service Commission, District 2 (1989-1995); Louisiana State House of Representatives, District 45, Lafayette, (1984-1988);
Professional Experience: Partner, Coteau Consultants Political & Marketing Research Firm, (1982-present); Business Education Teacher, Breaux Bridge High School (1964-65)
Personal: Born December 15, 1942 in Iberia Parish . Husband Raymond; six children; five grandchildren.
Religion: Roman Catholic
Profiles/Interviews:Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire | Shreveport Times (September 1, 2003) | New Orleans Times-Picayune (August 27, 2003)

Latest Polls

Blanco (D)
Jindal (R)
Final RCP Average
Jindal +2.2%
Jindal +4
Jindal +1
Jindal +4
Jindal +9.2
Jindal +6
Jindal +5
Blanco +1.3
Jindal +7
Jindal +2
Jindal +1
Jindal +4
Jindal +11
Jindal +5
Blanco +2.2
Blanco +10
Jindal +7
Blanco +1

November 16: The early take on the election is it looks like Blanco timed her attack ads against Jindal perfectly. This election for weeks had been praised as a "clean" election with little to no negative advertising by both sides. However, in the last week Blanco and the Democrats blanketed the state with ads attacking Jindal hard.

In mailers and on television, Blanco criticized Jindal’s Department of Health and Hospitals record, claiming he put money before people. One prominent ad featured the former head of a state physicians’ group saying Jindal canceled programs, such as “Needy Children.” Another ad noted that Jindal took a $24,000 raise soon after he laid off 200 Department of Health and Hospitals employees.

Had Blanco run these ads earlier Jindal's campaign would have had time to rebut the attacks and go on the offensive themselves, but by timing the broad negative attack for the last week Blanco was able to time her momentum to peak perfectly, while at the same time allowing Jindal no time to react.

We were obliviously aware that Blanco had picked up some serious momentum, but we thought the final tracking numbers from Friday showing Jindal ahead by four was an indication that Jindal had stopped her momentum in time and had built a big enough lead to hold on. We were wrong.

Had this election been run three days earlier or a week later Jindal probably would have won. Again this is an early take, but it look like Blanco's campaign outstrategized the Jindal campaign and that was the difference.

RCP Final Analysis 11/15: The final tracking poll from MRI shows a stabilization for Jindal, which is very important to the young Republican's chances. Jindal's lead, which had grown to as high as nine in the MRI poll taken at the very beginning of the week, had fallen to only four on the survey taken 11/10 - 11/12, and the results for the tracking numbers for Wednesday and Thursday showed Blanco pulling to within one point, 45%-44%. Had Blanco's same momentum continued through the final tracking poll on Friday we were prepared to switch and call for a Blanco win, but that final survey of 400 voters showed Jindal back up with a four point lead.

Make no mistake about it, this is not Kentucky where Fletcher was a shoo-in on election day or even Mississippi where Barbour was 70%-80% likely to win even though the final margin of victory would be close. This election is a true toss up and Jindal's ethnicity provides a significant wild card that is almost impossible to calibrate. There are other factors that provide a higher degree of uncertainty than usual: today is the start of hunting season and #3 ranked LSU plays a huge football game on the road at Alabama. These are small factors that probably hurt Jindal slightly though it is difficult to know exactly how much. The biggest wild card, of course, is that we're talking about Louisiana.

We said in our initial analysis if Jindal could maintain a 2 point lead in our RCP poll average he should be able to hold on and pull out the win. Our final poll average today comes in at 45.0% - 42.8%, a 2.2 point lead for Jindal, which should be just enough to get him to the finish line ahead of Blanco. Of the four Governor's races this year this is the only one that is a true toss up on election day, but Jindal looks poised to make history and immediately become a national star in the Republican Party. Jindal 51% - Blanco 49%.

November 14: The latest tracking poll from MRI shows a significant closing of the gap for Blanco from down over nine points to only four points with a day left. Some of the last minute attack ads accusing Jindal of slashing health-care while he was secretary for Department of Health and Hospitals may be leading to Jindal's drop from 49% to 46%. But it also appears that Blanco has benefited from the final debate, where her answer to a question on the "defining moment" in her life may be moving voters:

"The most defining moment in my life came, when I lost a child. Those are the moments when you have to really, really know that you have faith and faith can bring you where you have to go....That's what makes me what I am today, knowing that one of the worst things that could happen to a person happened to me, and we were able to protect our family, and the rest of my children are stronger because of it,"

WAFB anchorman George Sells, one of the debate panelists said "in the studio, it was a very dramatic moment." While Blanco appears to have the last minute momentum she is still under 45% and could well have fallen too far behind to catch Jindal. The African-American vote will be a large factor in determining the final winner, as is usual, and Jindal looks poised to get almost 15%, which is close to double the normal proportion that goes to Republicans in Louisiana.

In an interview yesterday with the Washington Post Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans suggested:

I think some old boy state's rights anti-black types are switching over to Blanco because they don't want to see an Indian-American as governor.

This remains the wild card or hidden factor in the election, and Blanco would be hard pressed to pull out a victory without these votes. But because these voters are traditionally Republican voters, and given the ninth-inning tightening toward Blanco, this could very well be the difference in a Democratic win.

However, at the end of the day, we suspect this type of voting will be small, and will be offset by crossover votes from blacks and non-traditional Republican voters. Several days ago Jindal was poised for a 54% - 46% type of win, it now looks like this race is going right down to the wire. Jindal holds on, barely, 51% - 49%.

November 12: Having won California, Kentucky and Mississippi, Republicans are poised to go 4 for 4 this Saturday if 32 year-old Bobby Jindal can defeat Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal led the 17-candidate open primary on Oct 4, capturing 33% of the vote compared to second place Blanco's 18%. (Like much in Louisiana, their elections are different from the rest of the country, all the candidates run in a single election or primary and if no one captures over 50% of the vote the two top vote winners advance to a head-to-head runoff. This is what's taking place this Saturday, Nov. 15.)

The first set of polls following the Oct 4th primary showed Blanco with a 4-7 point lead on average, but since the third week in October Jindal has moved out to a small, yet solid lead in most polls. Of particular concern for Blanco is her inability to poll over 45% in any survey since mid-October, while Jindal has received 48%-49% in five different polls over the same period.

Jindal's extremely young age and his Indian ancestry have contributed to a higher than normal level of uncertainty in this race, as there were questions whether a 32-year old son of immigrants from India could win in Louisiana. In what may be a reflection of how far the South and the country have moved with regard to race, it appears that Jindal's Indian ancestry is having little effect in this contest. Of course, polls and votes can be two different things.

Like all Democrats in the South, Blanco is going to need massive support from the African-American community to win. However, in a stunning move the black mayor of New Orleans has endorsed Jindal and it appears to be helping him draw more support from the African-American community than is typical for Republicans.

While Blanco does have the support of the very well liked Senator Breaux, it is more than countered by the enthusiastic endorsement of Jindal by popular Gov. Mike Foster.

Last December, Senator Mary Landrieu was able to win 52% - 48%, because she got that huge African-American vote and a very respectable percent of the the white vote.

In that race Landrieu was the more likable and better candidate. In this year's race, Jindal seems to the better and more attractive candidate. "Jindal is being perceived as a progressive, revolutionary Republican figure in the state," says Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans.

Landrieu held a 1.5 point lead in our final poll average last year and she went on to a four point win. Jindal currently holds a 4.2 point lead in our latest average and if that can stay over 2% he should be able to pull out the win on Saturday.

We think Jindal will win almost 15% of the black vote and will hold on to enough of the traditional Republican vote to squeeze out a victory and make history.

* Republican pollster

Latest News Stories

Louisiana Poised to Make History - Shreveport Times (11/15)
Will Choose First Female or Indian-American Gov. - NO Times-Picayune (11/15)
Jindal Keeps Schedule During Last Frantic Hours - Lafayette Advertiser (11/15)

Kathleen Blanco Woos Fence-Sitters - Shreveport Times (11/15)
Blanco Binds Momentum at Each Stop in State Tour - Lafayette Advertiser (11/15)

Bobby Jindal Makes Final Campaign Dash - Shreveport Times (11/15)
Decision Day: Blanco or Jindal - Alexandria Town Talk (11/15)
Louisiana Governor's Contest Defies Stereotypes - Washington Post (11/14)
Louisiana Candidates Running Close - Washington Times (11/14)
Democrats Cry Foul Over Black Radio Ad - Shreveport Times (11/14)
Blanco, Jindal Swing Through State Seeking Support - NO Times-Picayune (11/14)
Louisiana Governor's Race - Washington Post (11/14)
Jindal Sways UL Lafayette Students - Lafayette Advertiser (11/14)
Many Punches Thrown, But Few Land in Last Debate - NO Times-Picayune (11/13)
Jindal has 9 Point Lead - Alexandria Town Talk (11/13)
Blanco, Jindal Pushing - Baton Rouge Advocate (11/13)
Politics Rouses Campus - Lafayette Advertiser (11/13)
Historic Election Just Two Days Away - Alexandria Town Talk (11/13)
Jindal Sways UL Lafayette Students - Lafayette Advertiser (11/13)
Gubernatorial Candidates Meet Today in Final TV Debate - Shreveport Times (11/12)
Blanco, Jindal Stump for Acadiana Votes - Lafayette Advertiser (11/12)
Four Days to Go: A Tale of Two Polls - New Orleans Times-Picayune (11/12)

Candidates for Governor Square off in Second to Last Debate
- WGNO/AP (11/11)
Candidates Still on the Attack - New Orleans Times-Picayune (11/11)
Latest Polls In Governor's Race - WAFB - Baton Rouge (11/11)
Wild Ride in Louisiana Governor's Race
- USA Today (11/10)
Campaigns Enter Final Week - Lafayette Advertiser (11/10)
Jindal's Heritage Touches Nerve - Shreveport Times (11/10)
Blanco Restates Support for LEAP, GEE - Baton Rouge Advocate (11/10)
Near a Photo Finish, Who Has the Negatives? - NO Times-Picayune (11/9)
Blanco Calm, Oblivious to Media Publicity - Lafayette Advertiser (11/9)
Jindal Intense but Believes in Laughing a Lot - Lafayette Advertiser (11/9)
Poll: Jindal edges Blanco - Lafayette Advertiser (11/8)
Blanco Defends Studious Tack - NO Times-Picayune (11/8)
Absentee Voting Mixed Statewide - Shreveport Times (11/8)
Election Experts Predict Smaller Turnout Nov. 15 - Lafayette Advertiser (11/8)
6 Week Runoff Seems to be Turning Voters Off - Lafayette Advertiser (11/7)
Blanco, Jindal Accentuate Negative - NO Times-Picayune (11/7)
Nagin Advisory Board Resigns Over Jindal Endorsement - Shreveport Times (11/7)
Blanco, Jindal Spar on Radio - Lafayette Advertiser (11/7)
Poll: Jindal Jumps 3, Blanco Gains 1 - Lafayette Advertiser (11/6)
Polls Show Blanco, Jindal Are in a Tight Race - NO Times-Picayune (11/6)
Pollster: Jindal Likely Winner if Election Turnout Low - Lafayette Advertiser (11/6)
North-Central Black Caucus Backs Jindal - Bayou Buzz (11/5)
Candidates Promise Support For Renewed Sugar Trade Fight - BR Advocate (11/5)
Candidates Still Arguing Over Ads, Not Issues - Shreveport Times (11/5)
Blanco Posts Campaign Funding Info - Bayou Buzz (11/5)
Blanco Backs Off Remarks About 'Truth Squad' Ads - NO Times-Picayune (11/4)
New Orleans Mayor Crosses Party Lines, Endorses Jindal - Shreveport Times (11/4)
Candidates Continue Jabs in Latest Debate - Shreveport Times (11/3)
Minority Candidate A Major Force in La. - Newsday/AP (11/3)
Jindal, Blanco Discuss Education - Lafayette Advertiser (11/3)
Governor Hopefuls Differ on Taxes - Baton Rouge Advocate (11/3)
Tracking Poll Shows Jindal Lead Narrows - Shreveport Times (11/2)
Governor Hopefuls Say Faith Personal - New Orleans Times-Picayune (11/2)
Blanco Revs Up Supporters During Acadiana Bus Tour
- Lafayette Advertiser (11/1)
East N.O. Becomes Electoral Battleground - NO Times-P
icayune (11/1)
Blanco Hits Home While Jindal Greets Businessmen - Baton Rouge Advocate (11/1)
Independent Poll Shows Jindal With 11-point Lead - Lafayette Advertiser (10/31)
Schools Need Tools to Improve Discipline, Jindal Says - Alexandria Twn Tlk (10/31)
Polls Showing Jindal in Lead Questioned - Lafayette Advertiser (10/30)
Candidates Battling on Health-care Turf - Shreveport Times (10/30)
Breaux Promotes Blanco in Television Advertisement - Lafayette Advertiser (10/29)
Breaux's TV Ads Could be Edge Blanco Needs Nov. 15 - Shreveport Times (10/29)

Blanco Avoids No-tax Pledge
- NO Times-Picayune (10/28)
Lafayette Turns Into Campaign Hot Spot - Lafayette Advertiser (10/28)
Gay Rights Activists Laud Blanco - NO Times-Picayune (10/28)
Candidates Jindal, Blanco Disagree on Abortion - Lafayette Advertiser/AP (10/28)
Blanco Says She is Taking on Foster, Jindal - Shreveport Times (10/28)
Jindal Campaign Exploits the Dems' Day of Reckoning - PoliticsLA.com (10/27)
Foster Launches Most Attacks in Gov’s Race - Lafayette Advertiser/AP (10/27)
Jindal Raises $1 Million Since Primary - WBRZ (10/27)
Foster Seeks Commitments From Jindal and Blanco - Shreveport Times (10/27)
The South Surprises Again - CS Monitor (10/27)
Edwards' Long Shadow Falls on Election - NO Times-Picayune (10/26)
Candidates Sharpen Attack in Shreveport Debate - NO Times-Picayune (10/25)
Both Candidates Scored, But No Knockouts
- Shreveport Times (10/25)

Blanco, Jindal Head for Photo Finish - NO Times-Picayune (10/25)
New Poll Shows Blanco, Jindal in Statistical Tie - Lafayette Advertiser (10/24)

Jindal Termed ‘Humble,’ ‘Methodical’
- Lafayette Advertiser (10/23)
Governor Hopefuls Shun Edwards Crony Links - NO Times-Picayune (10/23)
Behind the Scenes, Spouses of Gov Candidates Work - Lafayette Advertiser (10/23)
Blanco Blames Jindal for Health Care Woes - NO Times-Picayune (10/22)

Few Sparks in Blanco, Jindal Debate
- Shreveport Times (10/21)

Candidates Tout Military Support
- NO Times-Picayune/AP (10/20)

Ethnicity, Gender Play Roles in La. Gubernatorial Race - Lafayette Advertiser (10/20)
Blanco vs. Jindal A Look at Their Claims to Fame - NO Times-Picayune (10/19)

Candidates Draw on Ethnic Backgrounds for Fundraising - Shreveport Times (10/19)
Jindal, Foster Back Off Attack on Pollster - Lafayette Advertiser (10/18)
Jindal, Blanco Camps Spar Over Poll - NO Times-Picayune/AP (10/17)
Blanco, Jindal Address Black Voter Strategies - Lafayette Advertiser (10/13)
Attack Master Joins Jindal Campaign - Lafayette Advertiser/AP (10/13)
A New Kind of Minority Is Challenging La's Racial Conventions - NY Times (10/12)
Blanco, Jindal Share Similar Stances - NO Times-Picayune (10/12)
Jindal, Blanco Say They Don't Want Attack Ads - NO Times-Picayune (10/11)
Breaux Backs Blanco, Raps Ex-Staffer Jindal - Dallas Morning News/AP (10/10)
College Dems Anger Indian-Americans for Attack on Jindal - CNS News (10/10)

Louisiana Media Links

Newspapers: Lafayette Advertiser | New Orleans Times-Picayune | Shreveport Times

Television: WGNO (ABC - NewOrleans) | WDSU (NBC - New Orleans) | WAFB (CBS - Baton Rouge)

Radio: WJBO (AM 1150 - Baton Rouge)

Other: Politics LA | Stateline | Republican Party of Louisiana | Democratic Party of Louisiana