Louisiana Survey Shows Citizens Unhappy With State Government

March 15, 2018
Baton Rouge, LA
– Results of the 2018 Louisiana Survey, conducted by the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication and released today, show that many Louisianans are unhappy with the direction of the state, believe elected officials do not care what they think, and have little confidence that the state’s leaders will work together to solve the state’s problems.

Further, the survey reveals that most citizens believe political parties will choose to bicker and oppose each other rather than working together, even if it keeps them from solving the state’s problems.

These findings come from the first of six reports from the Louisiana Survey, a project of the Manship School’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, aimed at revealing how people from all areas of the state view Louisiana government and its policies. The survey, conducted between January 26 and March 3 polled 852 Louisianans from across the state. The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.

“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” Michael Henderson, Ph.D., director of the Public Policy Research Lab, said.

The first of the six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey reveals many signs that the people of Louisiana 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,” Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Manship School, said. “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. 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. Each iteration of the Louisiana Survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction, perceptions about the most important problems facing the state, as well as evaluations of public revenue sources and spending priorities.

The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, an integral part of LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. 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.

Read the full first report from the Louisiana Survey. View an archive of past Louisiana Surveys and results.

For more information, contact smalin@lsu.edu