NEW ORLEANS, LA (KSLA) - Most Louisiana voters say they like the job Governor John Bel Edwards is doing, according to an exclusive KSLA News 12 | Raycom Media poll.
Edwards has only been in office for a little over nine months, but he has had to deal with tragedy after tragedy.
Edwards hit the ground running Jan. 11 and has not stopped. He has been faced with a huge budget mess and several catastrophes.
"It's been nine months and 10 days. It's been a challenge for a lot of reasons, a fiscal disaster, natural disasters, shootings of police, but I feel privileged and honored to be governor of the great state of Louisiana," Edwards said at a recent naturalization ceremony in New Orleans.
This summer, he dealt with the Baton Rouge police shooting of Alton Sterling, the shootings of six Baton Rouge-area law enforcement officers and historic flooding in Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
Now voters are signaling what kind of job they think he is doing since he took office.
The poll of 625 registered Louisiana voters, and conducted by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, asked, "How would you rate the performance of Governor Edwards? Excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor?"
Statewide, 18 percent said excellent, 37 percent said pretty good, 28 percent rated him as fair and 12 percent said he is doing a poor job.
So, more than half of all voters said his performance on the job is excellent or good.
Political analyst Mike Sherman said the governor should be pleased.
"For a Democratic governor in a solidly red state, having been through a human catastrophe, a natural catastrophe and a budget mess, these are great numbers," Sherman said.
Edwards did not overplay the results.
"Obviously I'm gratified by the numbers reflected in the poll, but I understand that's a snapshot in time and my job is to get up every day and serve people best I can and my pledge as governor is to continue to do that," the governor said.
By region, Edwards received excellent marks from 19 percent of voters polled in the New Orleans Metro Area.
In the Baton Rouge area, where all three tragedies happened over the summer, only seven percent say he is doing an excellent job.
He gets an excellent vote from 25 percent of voters in south central Louisiana and from 21 percent in the northern part of the state.
More than 60 percent of female voters surveyed give the governor excellent or pretty good marks compared to 48 percent of men.
Almost a quarter of male voters polled rate the governor as doing a poor job compared to just four percent of female voters.
Edwards would not speculate on those numbers.
I'm not going to go there, but I appreciate the fact that I get support wherever it comes from," he said.
Nearly 80 percent of black voters rate the governor's performance in his first year as excellent or good compared to 46 percent of white voters.
When it comes to political parties, 65 percent of democrats and 50 percent of independents polled give the governor an excellent or good rating, but Republicans rate his job performance as excellent or good at 45 percent.
When you consider every statewide official, except for Governor Edwards, is a Republican and both houses of the legislature are also majority GOP, Sherman said his above average job approval rating statewide may be a case of voters understanding what he has had to deal with so early in his four-year term.
"So whether you're a Democrat, Republican, independent or something else, most folks don't like tax increases and John Bel Edwards has done a heck of a lot of those, raising taxes and implementing the one percent increase in sales tax that we all pay," Sherman said. "But despite that, voters appreciate the mess John Bel Edwards inherited and are still standing by their governor."