Louisiana Primary Voters: Drew Brees 96%, Sean Payton 74%, Santorum 70%, Gingrich 59%, Romney 49%, Paul 35%

March 24, 2012 - 6:04 PM
Drew Brees, Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

(CNSNews.com) - Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints head coach who on Wednesday was suspended for one year by the NFL because his defensive coordinator had run a bounty system that rewarded players for injuring opponents, has a higher favorable rating among Louisiana Republican voters than any of the Republican candidates vying in Saturday’s Louisiana presidential primary, according to a poll released Friday.

The only person cited in the poll who had a higher favorable rating than Payton was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Brees, who led the Saints to victory in the Super Bowl a year ago, is currently negotiating a new contract with the team.

Among the Republican presidential candidates, former Sen. Rick Santorum had the highest favorable rating among likely Louisiana Republican primary voters.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in Raleigh, N.C., surveyed 650 likely Louisiana Republican primary voters on Wednesday and Thursday.  Among the questions the polling firm asked was whether these voters had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a number of people, including each of the remaining Republican presidential candidates. The survey also asked voters if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Saints QB Drew Brees, head coach Sean Payton, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

It also asked the Republican voters how they viewed former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who until last month was running for president as a Republican and now plans to on a third-party ticket, and one-time Louisiana state Rep. David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who in the past has run in both Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

Brees had the highest percentage of Republican voters saying they had a favorable opinion of him and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke had the lowest percentage.

Here is the percentage of Louisiana GOP voters who said they had a favorable opinion of the people named in the poll

Percent Who Had a Favorable Opinion

Drew Brees                                      96

Sean Payton                                    74

Rick Santorum                                 70

Newt Gingrich                                   59

Mitt Romney                                    49

Ron Paul                                         35

Buddy Roemer                                28

Greg Williams                                 12

David Duke                                     10

The poll also asked likely Republican primary voters who they intended to vote for in Saturday’s primary. Santorum won that part of the survey:

Santorum                                      42

Romney                                        28

Gingrich                                         17

Paul                                               9

Roemer                                          2

On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the NFL had suspended coach Payton without pay for the entirety of the 2012 season and that it had suspended former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely.

“The NFL's extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program's existence from league investigators, and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office,” said a statement released by the NFL.

"The program included 'bounty' payments for 'knock-outs' and 'cart-offs,' plays on which an opposing player was forced to leave the game," said the NFL. "At times, the bounties even targeted specific players by name."