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Welcome to 2015!

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Elections are already creeping into spotlight

The plethora of 2014 elections are still on the political horizon in Louisiana, but already the elections set for 2015 are nudging their way into the political spectrum.

A recent poll by Southern Media Opinion and Research (SMOR) of Baton Rouge surveyed 600 likely voters on the 2015 governor’s race, which will be an open seat because Gov. Bobby Jindal constitutionally cannot seek a third term

Before getting to the 2015 scenario, let’s look at  how respondents feel about Jindal.  His job approval rating is 48% and his job disapproval rating is 51%.

While some political analysts believe Jindal go down in history as the worst governor of the Pelican State, Republican respondents still give him a 73% positive rating,

Among all white respondents, Jindal gets a 61%  positive rating.  However, only 15% of black voters approve of the job he is doing as governor.

As far as the 2015 governor’s race is concerned, there are already three declared candidates – Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and Democratic state Rep. John Bel  Edwards.

Other potential candidates include state Treasurer John Kennedy and Public Service Commission Scott Angelle, both Republicans.

But the elephant in the room is Democratic New Orleans Mayor and former Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.  The  speculation is that he will run for governor if his sister, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, wins her bid for a fourth six-year term in November.

So most polls, including the recent one by SMOR, are throwing Mitch into the mix. And the result is indeed interesting.

Results of the poll show Landrieu, who is in his second term as mayor of the Big Easy, running even with Vitter, both getting 29% of the vote.

That result has to be of concern to Vitter, who is so well known as a U.S. Senator and is already actively campaigning for governor.

Political analyst Clancy DuBos of New Orleans had this to say: “The fact he (Vitter) can’t crack 30%  in the raw numbers tells me he’s got some vulnerabilities.”  He added, “He’s the guy with the money.”

While no one is mentioning it, one has to wonder if the scandal surrounding U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister of Monroe, who was caught on tape kissing one of his staffers, may have had an adverse affect on Vitter.

When Jindal and GOP leaders called for McAllister to resign, the news media was quick to bring up Vitter’s involvement with a DC prostitution ring in 2007, noting that he was not asked to resign.

It’s still a long political road to the 2015 governor’s election, so anything can happen between now and then. Anyway, here are the results of SMOR’s poll:

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) – 28.9%.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) – 28.9%.

State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) – 11.7%.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) – 10.5%.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) – 5.5%.

Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) – 3.8%.

Undecided/Wouldn’t Say – 10.6%.

In a hypothetical runoff between Vitter and Landrieu, Vitter gets 52.8% and Landrieu 41.8% with 5.5% undecided.

Ups and downs

Bossier City is up and Shreveport is down – in population, that is, according to estimates released by  the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

The 2010 Census had Bossier City with a population of 61,315.  The population estimate as of July 31, 2013 is 66,333, a gain of 5,018 people.

Shreveport, on the other hand, had an official Census Bureau population in 2010 of 199,311.  As of July 31, 2013, it’s population is estimated to be 200,327, a gain of 1,016.

But here’s the thing.  Shreveport’s estimated population in 2012 was 202,066.  So, by that yardstick, the city has lost 1,739 people over that one-year period.

When Shreveport did its redistricting plan, it revealed that there are 199,368 people in the city.  Using that figure, since 2010, the city has grown by only 57  people.

It is interesting to also look at figures for the two parishes.

The population of Bossier Parish, according to the 2010 Census, was 116,979.  Its population estimate as  of July 21, 2013 is 123,823, a gain of 6,844 people or a growth of 6%.  The parish is 74% white, 21% black,  and 5% other races.

Caddo Parish had a population in 2010 of 254,969.  As of July 31, 2013, its population is  estimated to be 254,887, a loss of 82 residents.  The parish is 49% white, 48% black, and 3% other races.

DeSoto Parish’s population in 2010 was 26,656.  It is 27,083, a gain of 427, as of July 31, 2013.  The parish is 59% white, 39% black, and 2% other races.

Webster Parish’s population in 2010 was 41,207.  It is 40,678 as of July 31, 2013, a loss of 529 people.  The parish is 64% white, 34% black, and 2% other  races.

Here’s a look at the population figures for other major cities in Louisiana:

Alexandria – 2010 population was 47,723.  As of 2013, it is 48,426, a gain of 703.

Baton Rouge – 2010 population was 229,493.  As of 2013, it is 229,426, a loss of 67.

Houma – 2010 population was 33,727.  As of 2013, it is 34,040, a gain of 313.

Lafayette – 2010 population was 120,623.  As of 2013, it is 124,726, a gain of 4,103.

Lake Charles – 2010 population was 71,993.  As of 2013, it is 74,024, a gain of 2,031.

Monroe – 2010 population was 48,815.  As of 2013, it is 49,761, a gain of 946.

New Orleans – 2010 population was 343,829.  As of  2013,  it  is  378,715, a  gain  of  34,886,  making it one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

You won’t believe this

With as much time and effort expended in the Louisiana Legislature promoting guns – from carrying them in churches, schools, restaurants, etc. – one would think the Pelican State is a great state for gun owners.

Not so, says the gunsandammo website.  It has ranked the states that are best for gun owners after interviewing a variety of gun owners at the 2014 National Rifle Association Show.

And guess what?  Louisiana was ranked at No. 27 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia as best for gun owners.  Texas came in at No. 14, Mississippi at 18 and Arkansas at 33.

The Top Ten best states for gun owners are: Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, Utah, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, and Florida.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter

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