Republican star Bobby Jindal has troubles in home state

Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal, touted as a rising star of the Republican Party with presidential possibilities, faces deepening troubles in his home state of Louisiana, even as he dispenses advice on how his divided party can regroup after its election drubbing last year.

Recent polls suggest that Jindal's once-formidable job performance rating has fallen below 50 percent just over a year after he was re-elected without serious opposition.

"He's got a large number of people in Louisiana who just do not like him,'' said Baton Rouge-based pollster Bernie Pinsonat, not usually a Jindal critic.

While Jindal delighted conservative policy wonks nationally with his signature measures overhauling education and public employee pensions in Louisiana, those laws are tied up in state court as Republican judges claim constitutional concerns.

The question isn't necessarily how Jindal's circumstances affect him inside his own Republican Party, where he remains popular among vocal conservatives. And Jindal will have national media exposure as the new head of the Republican Governors Association.

But any governor hoping to build a national platform must find a way to frame his political approach for a broader audience.

The challenge for the Republican Party, which lost what it saw as a winnable presidential election in November and failed to regain control of the U.S. Senate, is to find standard bearers who satisfy the Republican base, while widening it, too.

One reason Republicans lost last year was their reliance on a shrinking white male conservative constituency, as women, young voters, minorities and immigrants sided with the Democrats.

Born as Piyush Jindal in Baton Rouge to Indian immigrant parents, "Bobby'' Jindal is one of few plausible conservative Republican who isn't saddled with the "white male Republican'' image.

But to be credible nationally, he will have to be popular in his home state.

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