A well-known Louisiana pollster says IF Edwin Edwards ran for governor this fall, he'd have plenty of voter support. Bernie Pinsonat, of Southern Media & Opinion Research, says the former governor's popularity hasn't waned much--despite serving over 8 years in prison on a federal racketeering conviction. Edwards was convicted in 2002 of conspiring to fix casino gaming licenses, and earlier this year was released from a federal prison, with time off for good behavior.

Pinsonat says a good number of Louisianans can forgive Edwards' mistakes, and feel his ten-year sentence was more about his two prior acquitals on federal charges than one conviction. Though Pinsonat has conducted no such poll of an Edwards vs. Bobby Jindal test race, he says he HAS encountered plenty of pro-Edwards sentiment from voters. He says Mr. Edwards can draw a bigger crowd than Mr. Jindal, and others in the Republican Party. A recent Edwards booksigning for his biography, written by Leo Honeycutt, drew over 1000 people.