Bobby Jindal aims to gain ground in polls by visiting all 99 Iowa counties

Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks about other presidential candidates on Sept. 19 at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Dinner.

Morgan Swearinger

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign shows evidence of a surge in popularity after a recent poll placed him at 6 percent in Iowa.

According to the NBC/Marist poll, Jindal has risen two points during the last month in Iowa. He is also tied with U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz for favorability ratings.

In an interview with the Daily on Friday, Jindal said his strategy of visiting all 99 counties in Iowa would “pay off.”

In the 2012 election, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who is running again in 2016, received a surge in polling just a week before the Iowa caucuses after support for Newt Gingrich faded.

Santorum jumped to third place, and until that moment he had been very underestimated in the race. In the Iowa caucuses, Santorum won by 34 votes.

Jindal is now banking on emulating Santorum’s success in 2012.

“G​ov. Jindal is certainly using the same tactics as Santorum,” said Kelly Shaw, lecturer in political science. “Early in the 2012 campaign, Santorum would hold town meetings with a handful of citizens curious in his candidacy, and Jindal is doing the same thing.”

Shaw also pointed out that Jindal isn’t as successful with the use of intimate settings as Santorum was because of fellow competitors who are using the same tactic and the fact that he is less appealing to evangelicals­, who were supporters of Santorum in 2012.

“We know that evangelicals vote in Iowa and engage in the caucus process, and I’ve not seen anything to suggest that the evangelical vote is ready to endorse Jindal over their two previous candidates,” Shaw said.

Jindal’s rise in Iowa comes after months of campaigning without receiving much attention. The two-term Louisiana governor leaving office early next year has been stuck at 1 or 2 percent in most national polls.

His rise in Iowa is most likely because of the exposure he has received through his expensive campaign, Shaw said. Jindal is continuing to use his retail politics approach while still attempting to fully establish his brand in Iowa.

It is essential for Jindal to do well in Iowa to move forward with his campaign financially, Shaw said.

“I don’t expect him to deviate from this strategy, but his organization [and cash] will have to sustain his campaign through some difficult times,” Shaw said. “Getting his word out is key, but it remains to be seen if his campaign can survive in this expensive competition we call the Iowa caucuses.”

Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science, said he thinks Jindal will continue to struggle.

Schmidt pointed to an interview that an adviser to Jindal’s fellow Republican candidate Chris Christie did with Yahoo News after last week’s Republican debate.

Jindal repeatedly called on Christie throughout the debate for his record as governor of New Jersey.

Christie’s strategist, Michael DuHaime, said Christie’s team “anticipated” attacks from a “desperate Jindal.”

Jindal told the Daily that he wants to have a “real debate,” and that the attacks were not personal; it is really about who will cut the size of government if elected.

Jindal will continue to campaign in Iowa, including a stop in Ames at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Memorial Union for a town hall meeting.

“Caucuses and primaries are marathons, and not sprints, so there is a lot of time for Jindal to improve his position … or fall in the polls.” Shaw said.