Survey shows mixed views on voting restrictions

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 23, 2022

Research from the Public Policy Research Lab (PPRL) at LSU Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs shows residents are more confident about ballot access, but political parties tend to disagree over restrictions on voting and the public has a mixed view on its political efficacy. Trust in news organizations is also declining both nationally and locally.

The 2022 Louisiana Survey includes two distinct efforts to sample residents of the state and conduct interviews. The Louisiana Survey polled 508 adult residents through traditional telephone-based surveys from across the state to find out how Louisianans view their government and its policies. The survey was conducted from Feb. 21 to March 14, 2022, and the total sample has a +/- 5.8 margin of error. Additionally, the Louisiana Survey polled 623 adult residents in a survey administered online. The survey was conducted from March 1 to March 21, 2022, and the total sample has a +/- 6.1% margin of error. The primary report is based on the traditional telephone-based portion of the study.

Findings from the fourth of six reports indicate the following results from questions asking Louisiana residents about elections in the state and news media:

  • A large majority (88%) of respondents said they are very or somewhat confident that legally qualified individuals who wish to vote are able to do so in Louisiana elections. It is a sentiment that Democrats (91%), Republicans (89%) and independents (86%) share. A smaller majority (61%) expressed confidence that ineligible voters are not casting ballots in these elections, but there is a significant partisan divide. Three fourths (76%) of Democrats and 64% of independents are confident that individuals not legally qualified to vote are prevented from doing so, but just 47% of Republicans are.
  • Fifty-three percent (53%) said voting is a fundamental right for every adult U.S. citizen and should not be restricted in any way, and 46% said it is a privilege subject to limitations. Most Democrats (81%) said voting is a fundamental right, as did 60% of independents. However, most Republicans (76%) said voting is a privilege that can be limited if adult citizens fail to meet some requirements.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) said that most elected officials in Louisiana do not care what people like them think. On the other hand, more than half of respondents (55%) said that ordinary citizens can do a lot to influence the government in Louisiana if they are willing to make the effort.
  • Just half (51%) of respondents said they trust the information they get from local news organizations. This marks a 27-percentage point drop from four years ago. Republicans’ trust in local news fell by 31 percentage points from 76% to 45%, and Democrats’ trust fell 23 percentage points from 89% to 66%.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted for the last 22 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 LSU 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 fourth Louisiana Survey report in full at https://www.lsu.edu/manship/research/centers-labs/rcmpa/research/la_survey.php. For more information, contact acharbonnet1@lsu.edu.