Louisiana residents are unhappy with direction of state government, LSU survey says

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Many Louisiana residents are unhappy with the direction of the state government and have little confidence in state leaders to fix the state's problems, according to a recent survey conducted by LSU.

The survey also showed residents believe "elected officials do not care what they think" and that political parties will only bicker and oppose each other instead of working together.

The Public Policy Research Lab at LSU's Manship School for Mass Communications polled 852 residents from across the state between Jan. 26 and March 3. The project is the first of six reports from the Louisiana Survey aimed at determining how people from all areas of Louisiana view the state government and its policies.

The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs. The Reilly Center's mission is to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many-faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues, according to LSU.

"What we see this year with the survey is that people overall feel more negatively about the state of Louisiana and are frustrated with the lack of compromise and problem-solving in the capitol," said Michael Henderson, director of the Public Policy Research Lab.

According to LSU, the survey reveals many signs that Louisiana residents are disillusioned with the state's politics:

  • 60 percent said they believe elected officials should work with other elected officials they disagree with rather than standing up just for their own positions.
  • 79 percent of people believe both Republicans and Democrats will bicker and oppose each other even if it keeps them from solving the state’s problems.
  • 73 percent of respondents say the state is more politically divided now than in the past.
  • 70 percent indicated that they believe most elected officials in Louisiana do not care what people like themselves think.
  • 66 percent reported feeling “not very much” confidence or “none at all” in the wisdom of the people of Louisiana when it comes to making political decisions.
  • 61 percent report feeling “not very” confident or “not at all” confident in the state government’s ability to address the state’s most important problems.
  • 66 percent say good jobs are difficult to find in their communities. Among the biggest concerns for people polled were topics such as the economy, jobs or wages (although few have experienced an economic downturn, with 59 percent saying they are getting along financially about as well as a year ago).
  • 78 percent of respondents say they trust state government only “some of the time” or “never.”
  • 50 percent say they think the state is headed in the wrong direction – an increase of about 10 percent since last year.

"The Louisiana Survey provides a pulse on how Louisiana's citizens feel about where we are as a state and where they'd like to see the state go – something that can help to inform Louisiana's leaders as they make important decisions about our future," said Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Manship School.

"The Manship School is committed to public service and to leading the study and practice of media and public affairs, and the Louisiana Survey is a key part of fulfilling that mission."

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted each year since 2003 and twice in 2006, establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana.

In a statement, LSU explains the mission of the Louisiana Survey is to:

"Establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents' assessments of state government services. The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on the contemporary policy issues that face the state.

A copy of the first Louisiana Survey report is available online at http://www.lsu.edu/manship/news/2018/March/lasurveyreportone.pdf.

An archive of past Louisiana Surveys and results can be found by clicking here.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.