Just weeks before he is expected to announce his presidential campaign, Bobby Jindal is at the nadir of his political career.
The Republican governor is at open war with many of his erstwhile allies in the business community and the legislature. He spent weeks pushing a “religious freedom” bill that failed to pass, while having little contact with legislators trying to solve Louisiana’s worst budget crisis in 25 years.
Jindal is now so unpopular in deep-red Louisiana that his approval rating plunged to 32 percent in a recent poll — compared with 42 percent for President Obama, who lost the state by 17 percentage points in 2012.
“This is very much a low point for Bobby Jindal,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is preparing a book on the governor.
Much of the trouble swirling around Jindal is connected to his unannounced presidential campaign and his regular travels to early primary states, which have angered many of his fellow Republicans in the GOP-controlled legislature.
In recent months, Jindal has focused his political energy here on trying to appeal to social conservatives nationally by pushing the Marriage and Conscience Act, which would have prohibited the state from taking “adverse action” against those opposed to same-sex marriage. But the measure died last month in the legislature amid opposition from major corporations that feared boycott threats by gay rights groups viewing such measures as sanctioning discrimination.