Jindal blows off low CNN poll numbers

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal isn't paying attention to recent poor polling numbers.

Story highlights

  • Louisiana governor says he's not worried about a poll showing low support in New Hampshire
  • He says he will decide whether to run for president after November's midterm elections
  • Bobby Jindal unveils an energy plan to reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast
  • He calls Barack Obama the worst president since Jimmy Carter
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a possible 2016 White House contender, said Tuesday that he would not be dissuaded by recent CNN poll numbers showing him trailing badly among New Hampshire Republicans.
Only 3% of New Hampshire Republican primary voters backed him in CNN's September 8-11 survey. The governor finished at the bottom of a field of 11 potential presidential candidates.
"I think at this point polls are measuring name ID," Jindal told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington. "The first time I ran for office, I was ... polling within the margin of error, which means I was at zero."
"There's no reason to be coy," he said. "I am thinking, I am praying about whether I'll run in 2016."
The 43-year-old governor, who has been boosting his profile nationwide partly through his role as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, insisted that he would not make a final decision about a 2016 run until after the November midterm elections.
"If I were to decide to run for 2016, it would have nothing to do with polls or fundraising numbers," he said. "It would simply be based on the same calculation that I made when I ran for ... Congress or governor. Do I think I could make a difference? Do I have something unique to offer in terms of my specific ideas or my experiences? Is this something that I'm supposed to be doing?"
Jindal used his appearance at the Monitor breakfast to unveil an energy proposal from his nonprofit group, America Next. The plan embraces an "all of the above" strategy but stresses the importance of continued development of domestic oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing and other means.
Oil and gas play a particularly critical role in the Louisiana economy.
Jindal blasted the Obama administration's refusal to move forward with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
"Right now, we've got an administration (of) science deniers when it comes to harnessing America's energy resources and potential," he said.
Jindal fielded a wide range of questions from reporters at the breakfast. Among other things, he expressed his support for the administration's decision to strengthen U.S. efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
"I think it is important that we lean forward," the governor said. "We've got certainly both a humanitarian basis as well as vested interest in wanting to help countries in Africa that are hardest hit."
Asked about efforts to confront ISIS in the Middle East, Jindal said Congress should back White House proposals to train and arm Syrian rebels. But he argued that repeated delays on the part of the administration had allowed the power of Islamic extremists to grow unchecked for too long.
"Our friends don't trust us; our enemies don't fear us," he said.
Jindal tackled a number of subjects likely to prove popular with GOP primary voters, including the need for further spending controls and complaints of a "war on religious liberty" in the United States.
For many conservatives, it is "shocking" to hear Obama "speak so eloquently" about "the rights and protections of Christians overseas, while ignoring what (is) happening here at home," he said.
Jindal called Obama the worst American president since Jimmy Carter.
"Carter believed in American exceptionalism. I don't think Obama does," he said. "Obama's the most radical president, ideologically, in my lifetime. And I think he's the most incompetent president."
"Jimmy Carter," he added, "was just incompetent."