Most Baton Rouge residents are concerned about climate change, though party lines still divide 

This satellite image released by NOAA shows Hurricane Gustav above the Gulf Coast on Monday Sept. 1, 2008. (AP Photo/NOAA)

A growing number of Baton Rouge residents believe that storms are becoming more fierce and want the government to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change, according to the latest installment of the 2021 CityStats report from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. 

In a stark shift from past public opinion, residents want alternatives to driving cars, tax incentives to boost renewable energy production and more electric vehicle charging stations, according to the 13th annual survey. The poll, which has an error margin of 4.2%, sampled 549 East Baton Rouge Parish residents from late June through early August, before Hurricane Ida struck.   

Fifty-five percent of poll respondents say climate change is an important issue for them, the first time a majority have said so in CityStats surveys. Respondents were predictably separated by politics, with 76% of Democrats but only 17% of Republicans expressing concern about the issue.  

Respondents are also divided over government flood insurance subsidies, which can encourage building in areas that are flooding more often. Roughly 43% want to keep subsidizing flood insurance, while 40% oppose the subsidies. 

Other noteworthy CityStats findings include: 

• Residents are divided about paying more to reduce power disruptions, which have become more common as stronger storms strike Louisiana more often. Forty-eight percent oppose a fee to reduce outages, while 46% favor a fee. 

• A majority of residents favor universal education and child care before kids start kindergarten. They also want a living wage for people who educate and care for infants to 4-year-olds. But while there’s big support for caring for and educating all children before they enter kindergarten, 58% oppose raising EBR property taxes to do so, while 38% would pay more.

• Seventy-seven percent of EBR residents want the state to match federal funding, if available, for passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. A majority in all demographics support state funding.

LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab conducted the survey under contract with the

foundation, as it has done for 12 of the 13 annual polls. See the full CityStates report.