The 2015 Louisiana Survey


Perceptions about the direction of the state have slowly improved over the past two years, according to the 2015 Louisiana Survey. The Louisiana Survey is conducted on an annual basis by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, or PPRL, to understand the opinions of Louisiana residents and share those opinions with state law makers.

Results of the survey indicate that 44 percent of residents believe the state is heading in the right direction, up from 38 percent two years ago. The public is now evenly divided between those who say the state is heading in the right direction and those who say it is heading in the wrong direction – 45 percent. 

“From 2008 to 2013 the general trend was more people saying the state was heading in the wrong direction and fewer people saying it was heading in the right direction,” said Michael Henderson, Research Director of PPRL. “In fact, wrong direction outpolled right direction by 14 points in 2013. Today, that gap has vanished.”

Same Old Problems, but Confidence in Government No Longer Eroding

Louisiana residents once again see education and the economy as the chief priorities for the state to address. Twenty‐five percent of residents name education as the most important problem facing Louisiana, and about another quarter – 23 percent – name the economy. 

Public confidence in Louisiana’s government to effectively deal with the most pressing issues has shifted, increasing for the first time since 2009. Confidence had declined in each of the previous five years.


Growing Economic Optimism

Some 26 percent of the public say that state business conditions have improved compared to a year ago, the largest number since the economic collapse of 2008. Although 24 percent say conditions in the state are getting worse, that figure is well below the share saying the national economy is in decline – 36 percent. 

“The state has faced some economic challenges in recent months, but this news does not appear to have dampened the public’s evaluations of the state’s economy,” said Henderson.

Higher Education Tops Grades Given to State

Nearly two‐thirds of residents – 64 percent – give the state’s colleges and universities an A or B grade. Forty‐one percent give A or B grades to Louisiana as a place to live generally. The state’s economic development efforts and the quality of health care also receive A and B grades from 38 and 31 percent of the public, respectively. By far, the smallest share of A and B grades are given to the state’s public schools and transportation infrastructure, at a respective 18 and 14 percent.


About the Louisiana Survey

Since 2003, the Louisiana Survey has tracked trends in Louisiana residents’ attitudes about conditions in the state. Additionally, the 2015 edition taps the public’s views of pressing contemporary issues such as strategies for addressing budget shortfalls; tax incentives for economic development; the Common Core State Standards; cost controls for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students; Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act; race relations and law enforcement; same‐sex marriage; and legalization/decriminalization of marijuana.
To execute the survey, PPRL at LSU conducted a live‐caller, dual‐frame survey with landline and cell phone samples of 980 adult residents of the state. The total sample has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.1 percentage points.

A copy of the report containing these results is available at

For additional information or to schedule an interview, contact Dr. Michael Henderson at