Louisiana survey shows pessimism over state's direction

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The economy, infrastructure, and education are among the top concerns most worrying for Louisiana citizens, according to research from the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU's Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs in the Manship School of Mass Communication.

Researchers found confidence in state government to solve the problems dropped to its lowest point since 2004.

The 2022 survey included two distinct efforts to sample citizens and conduct interviews. A total of 508 adults were polled through traditional telephone-based surveys from across the state to find out views on government and policies. It was conducted Feb. 21 to March 15. The survey also polled 623 adults online March 1 to March 21.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted for the past 22 years.

The Louisiana Capitol Building in Baton Rouge.

Findings from the first of six reports indicate:

  • Two-thirds of respondents said the state is heading in the wrong direction. Just 26 percent of respondents said the state is heading in the right direction, the smallest share over the nearly two decades that the Louisiana Survey has included this question.
  • Respondents mention the economy, infrastructure and education as the most important problems facing the state. The share mentioning COVID-19 dropped from 30 percent last year to 7 percent this year. In contrast, the share concerned about crime more than doubled from 10 percent to 24 percent.
  • Just 25 percent of Louisiana residents say they are either “very confident” or “somewhat confident” in state government to address important problems effectively – the smallest share since the Louisiana Survey first included this question in 2004.
  • Only 21 percent of respondents said they expect to be better off financially a year from now. Just 7 percent expect good business conditions a year from now.
  • Respondents were divided about evenly between those who approve how the state is handling the pandemic (41 percent) and those who disapprove (39 percent). This reflects a shift toward less approval compared to a year ago when 49 percent approved and 38 percent disapproved.
  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) said they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A much smaller share of respondents (36 percent) said they received a booster against COVID-19.
  • Most oppose vaccine mandates for employees and students: 62 percent said employers should not be allowed to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19; 58 percent oppose the state government requiring vaccination for public employees; 61 percent oppose requiring children who are age 12 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend school in person; and 67 percent oppose a similar rule for children who are between the ages of 5 and 11.