2021 Louisiana Survey Shows Economy, Pandemic Top List of Priorities

March 30, 2021

BATON ROUGE—Researchers in the Public Policy Research Lab (PPRL) at LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs in the Manship School of Mass Communication found state residents are most worried about the economy and the Covid-19 pandemic. Confidence in state government to solve these problems remains low.

The Louisiana Survey polled 781 adult residents from across the state to find out how Louisianans view their government and its policies. The survey was conducted from January 4 to March 1, and the total sample has a +/- 6.4% margin of error.

Findings from the first of five reports indicate the following opinions on Louisiana government and economy:

  • The pandemic appears to have had little, if any, effect on what Louisiana residents think about the direction of the state. Today, 46% say the state is heading in the wrong direction, and 42% say it is heading in the right direction. This is a shift from our last survey in 2019, when 43% said the state was heading in the wrong direction and 47% said it was heading in the right direction, but the change is within the margin of error. Beliefs about the direction of the state have held relatively steady since 2017.
  • The pandemic has shifted the public’s priorities for what problems the state government should tackle. The economy and the pandemic top state residents’ concerns, replacing education and transportation infrastructure, which topped the list two years ago.
  • Louisiana residents are neither more nor less confident in state government than they were before the pandemic. Forty-one percent (41%) of state residents say they are either very confident or somewhat confident in state government to address problems effectively. This share is on par with annual results from the Louisiana Survey since 2013.
  • The public has mixed views about economic well-being. On one hand, a large majority of Louisiana residents (72%) say the state’s economy is worse than it was a year ago. On the other hand, most state residents (54%) say their own financial situation is the same as it was a year ago, while 29% say it is worse than it was a year ago.

Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Center, is available for interviews. Contact acharbonnet1@lsu.edu to schedule.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted for the past 20 years, 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 the 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 at https://pprllsu.com/projects/. The second of five reports from the Louisiana Survey is slated for release on Thursday, April 1.

For more information, contact acharbonnet1@lsu.edu


LSU's Public Policy Research Lab is a joint effort of the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at LSU. It provides a variety of services including survey research, ‘big data’ analytics, social media tracking, and focus group interviews. The Lab combines professional capability, the latest data technologies, and the variety of intellectual assets available at LSU to serve our clients’ research needs.

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs is partnership-driven, action-oriented and dedicated to exploring contemporary issues at the intersection of mass communication and public life. Its interdisciplinary approach draws together experts from diverse fields to advance research and dialogue. The intent is to inspire our communities to think deeply, take action, develop solutions and broaden knowledge. Underlying the Center’s endeavors is to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national and state leadership in media and politics.

LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication, and dual MMC/law degree.