BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Support for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana has dropped in a new poll amid the problem-plagued rollout of the federal health care overhaul, which could suggest trouble for the Democratic senator’s re-election bid next year.
The third-term senator has regularly polled with approval ratings well above 50 percent, but a survey released Thursday by Southern Media and Opinion Research showed approval of Landrieu’s job performance had deteriorated to 46 percent. Nearly 51 percent said they thought she wasn’t doing a good job.
In another possible blow, 54 percent of those polled said they’d be less likely to vote for the Democratic senator’s re-election next year because of her vote for President Barack Obama’s signature health law. Landrieu has maintained her strong support of the federal law.
“This is gloomy for her re-election,” said pollster Bernie Pinsonat. “She’s tied to the Affordable Care Act. Unless there’s a dramatic turnaround, she’s going to have a very, very tough time getting re-elected.”
Despite the downturn, Landrieu remained ahead of her Senate race challengers in the poll.
Forty-one percent of respondents supported the senator’s re-election, compared to 34 percent backing Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and 10 percent favoring Republican Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel and tea party supporter.
The Senate election will be held in November 2014. Several Democratic senators who represent Southern states are considered vulnerable in the mid-term election because the region has tended to support Republicans in national races.
Landrieu didn’t respond directly to questions about whether the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has created problems for her re-election bid.
“We have always known that this race is going to be close. But Sen. Landrieu will — as she has time and time again — win because the people of Louisiana know that they can count on her leadership to build a prosperous future,” campaign manager Adam Sullivan said in a statement.
Pinsonat said if public opinion shifts on the rollout of the federal health law, Landrieu could see a bump in her approval ratings.
“We still have 10 months to go, and all of this can change,” he said.
The poll surveyed a random sample of 600 Louisiana voters who cast ballots in at least three elections over the last four years. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Obama remained unpopular among Louisiana voters, with support from 38 percent of those surveyed, while Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal only garnered a 42 percent approval rating.
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