Louisiana Survey: Economy, COVID-19 emerge as residents’ top concerns

The economy and the COVID-19 pandemic have replaced education and transportation infrastructure as Louisiana residents’ top concerns, according to the first of five reports from the 2021 Louisiana Survey. However, confidence in state government to solve these problems remains low.

The Louisiana Survey, a project of the Manship School’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, is annually conducted by the Manship School’s Public Policy Research Lab to measure and track public opinion of contemporary policy issues. 

Generally, the pandemic has shifted the public’s priorities for what problems state government should tackle, the survey found. However, the pandemic appears to have had little, if any, effect on what Louisiana residents think about the direction of the state, with beliefs holding relatively steady since 2017. 

Currently, 46% of residents say the state is heading in the wrong direction, while 42% say it’s heading in the right direction. That’s a shift from the last survey, conducted in 2019, when 43% said the state was heading in the wrong direction and 47% said it was heading in the right direction, though the change is within the margin of error.

Meanwhile, 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. But most state residents (54%) say their own financial situation is the same as it was a year ago, while 29% say it’s worse.

This year’s survey was conducted from Jan. 4 to March 1 and included 781 Louisianans age 18 and older from across the state. The total sample has a 6.4% margin of error.

Read the first full report from the Louisiana Survey. The second of five reports will be released Thursday.