His campaign never got off the ground. Looking over his national poll numbers is like reading binary code — mostly just 1s and 0s. He never earned higher than 2 since his announcement in June, and so he never made a main debate stage, either. His path to victory, as obstructed as it was, was through the Iowa trail. In fact, of all the candidates with microscopic polling (Jindal, Gilmore, Pataki, Santorum, Graham, and the already withdrawn Perry), I had for a while thought Jindal the most likely candidate to catch fire in January and pull off the Huckabee/Santorum miracle of the last two campaign cycles. Eventually, his Iowa polling started looking up over the last month. After polling 1s and 2s in the Hawkeye State for the month of August, his autumn polls saw him hit between 4 and 6 seven times. Nothing spectacular, but at least he was connecting with Iowa voters, especially evangelicals and social conservatives. His Iowa favorability rating was one of the strongest in the field. He even now finds himself in the top half of the field in Iowa polling averages.
So why drop out now? For one, the most common descriptions of his last matinee debate performance were “annoying” and “petty.” He seemed to look desperate up there attacking, you know, every other Republican governor in the race, but it seems we had no idea just how desperate he was. Maybe we should have. Remember the third quarter fundraising totals? Jindal twice showed up in undesirable categories. I noted how “Jindal and Santorum [have] . . . only a couple hundred thousand left” and that “Huckabee and Jindal are outspending income, however meager it is.” I’m assuming, then, that he’s not dropping out only because of bad polling, but because he simply can’t continue funding a viable campaign (though that hasn’t stopped Jim Gilmore). He threw wild swings at the debate, hoping to get noticed, but in the week since he’s probably realized it made little difference.
His roughly five percent of Iowan support will probably get divvied up among Carson, Cruz, and Huckabee, so his withdrawal won’t make much of a ripple. It’s worth noting that he followed Scott Walker’s withdrawal theme of Anybody But Trump. “It’s not going to be Trump,” Jindal said. “It’ll be somebody else.”
Yeah, Governor. I know.