Candidates keeping Obama, Jindal at arm's length

Candidates keeping Obama, Jindal at arm's length

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As election days nears, campaigns are heating up but what you won't find are candidates looking for endorsements from their party's top players.

Two the of most visible members of the Republican and Democratic parties may not be on the November ballot, but Gov. Bobby Jindal and President Barack Obama are certainly influencing the US Senate race in Louisiana.

"They're both lean guys, not big physically, but they're 800-pound gorillas in this race and nobody wants to be seen with the governor and nobody wants to be seen with the president," said political analyst Jim Engster.

At a time when voters are especially divided along party lines, Engster said it's unusual to see candidates keeping their distance from their party's most powerful players. However, a slump in approval ratings for both Obama and Jindal has led to just that.

Both the congressional and Senate candidates have often been asked to rate the performance of the governor and the president. Neither has gotten anything higher than a seven out of 10.

Engster says the "Obama/Jindal Factor" could play the biggest role in the Senate race. Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, is working to show her individual record while in office. Meanwhile, Republican challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy is constantly reminding voters of Landrieu's connection to the president.

"It's a case that Bill Cassidy is running as much against Obama as he is against Sen. Landrieu. It worked for David Vitter against Charlie Melancon and Bill Cassidy is using the same playbook," Engster explained.

However, can the name association really affect the voter's choice? Engster said in this case, it may.

"For the most part, endorsements can only mean one percent of the vote, but some of these races are close enough that one percent can make a difference," Engster added.

WAFB is hosting a Senate debate next Wednesday. It starts at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on television, computer and mobile device.

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