BATON ROUGE – About two out of five voters are closely following the gubernatorial campaign, up from just 25 percent last spring, according to a new survey from the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.
While this share is smaller than the 49 percent of Louisiana voters who closely followed last year’s U.S. Senate campaign, it is far more attention than what other state elections are receiving this year. Only 29 percent are voters following the elections for state legislature, while 17 percent and 15 percent are following news about the elections for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Lieutenant Governor, respectively.
The growing attention to the campaign is also visible in the growth in the share of voters who recognize Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and state Rep. John Bel Edwards. Angelle’s name recognition doubled from 17 percent in March to 34 percent this fall. Recognition of Edwards grew from 24 percent to 32 percent.
With greater name recognition, U.S. Sen. David Vitter continues to lead in both the share of voters with a favorable opinion of him at 30 percent and an unfavorable opinion of him at 41 percent. For Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, 25 percent have a favorable opinion, and 15 percent have an unfavorable opinion. For Angelle, 22 percent have a favorable opinion, and 13 percent have an unfavorable opinion. For Edwards, 23 percent have a favorable opinion, and 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
“Voters are really just tuning in, so we are only now seeing real movement in their thinking about the candidates. As they give these candidates a first or second look, they are getting a better sense of how much they like them,” said Professor Michael Henderson, research director of the Public Policy Research Lab, which conducted the survey.
“Still, it is worth remembering that these are voters’ overall evaluations of the candidates. They give us a sense of how voters see the slate, but they do not tell us which candidate voters will ultimately choose,” Henderson said. “These opinions may continue to evolve as we reach the primary election and they certainly will change by the time we reach a runoff.”
About the Survey
Data in this report are from a randomly selected, statewide representative group of adult residents of Louisiana. Data were collected via telephone interviews conducted from Sept. 17 to Oct. 11, among a randomly selected state sample of 1,040 adult residents 18 years old or older. The survey includes a traditional landline telephone survey combined with a survey of Louisiana cell phone users. The combined sample includes 517 respondents interviewed on a landline and 523 respondents interviewed on a cell phone. The combined landline and cell phone sample is weighted using an iterative procedure that matches race and ethnicity, education, household income, gender and age to known profiles for Louisiana found in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The sample is also weighted for population density by parish using parameters from census data. Results in this report are for 893 respondents reporting they are registered voters. The registered voter sample has an overall margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.
A copy of the report containing these results is available here.
More information is available at: www.survey.lsu.edu.
Contact Michael Henderson
Public Policy Research Lab
LSU Media Relations