Below is an overview from Bernie Pinsonat, President of Southern Media and Opinion Research.
In a February 2016 poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research conducted shortly after Governor John Bel Edwards’ inauguration, a third of the likely voters in the state gave the new governor the benefit of a doubt. Some 34% said they didn’t have an opinion or wouldn’t respond to the question about their impression of the governor.
By May, the “don’t know/won’t say” dropped by 24 points to 10%. In three months, Gov. Edwards’ positive ratings (excellent and good) went up by 9 points (from 41% to 50%). At the same time, his negative ratings (not so good and poor) went up 15 points (from 25% to 40%).
Impressions of Governor Edwards in May 2016
All likely voters – positive 50%/negative 40%
White voters – positive 39%/negative 51%
Black voters – positive 79%/negative 13%
When these same voters were asked whether they think that the state’s financial problems were caused primarily by too much spending or not enough revenue, 63% of the respondents said “too much spending.” Only 26% said “not enough revenue.”
All likely voters – spending 63%/26% lack of revenue
Republicans – spending 75%/15% lack of revenue
Democrats – spending 54%/35% lack of revenue
Others – spending 68%/23% lack of revenue
Despite voters’ opposition to raising more taxes (57% of all voters and 74% of Republicans), the governor has now called a second special legislative session for June 6 in an attempt to raise another $600 million taxes. These tax increases will be in addition to over $1 billion in new taxes raised during the first special session this year. The call for the June session includes provisions to raise a significant amount of taxes from Louisiana businesses.
When asked whether they think Louisiana businesses already pay too much in state taxes, 42% of those polled think “too much,” while 21% say “not enough.” About 29% of the voters think businesses pay the right amount.
Further, 52% of the voters think increased taxes on Louisiana businesses will result in job losses.
Big majorities of likely voters (72%) also think that increasing taxes will keep some businesses from coming to Louisiana. Over two-thirds (69%) think increasing taxes will cause businesses already in Louisiana to cut back.
When asked if they are more or less likely to vote to reelect their legislators if they voted to raise another $600 million in taxes in a special session, 55% of all sampled said “less likely,” whereas 33% said “more likely.” Republican voters are 74% less likely to reelect their legislators if they vote for more taxes.
Other elected officials were also included in the poll to test voters’ feelings toward them. One of them was Treasurer John Kennedy whose positives are 64%, compared to negatives of 20%, compared to Gov. Edwards’ 50:40 favorables.
More to the point of the state budget and spending, 51% of voters are more likely to believe John Kennedy when talking about the state budget compared to 39% who are more likely to believe Edwards. When asked if they agree with Gov. Edwards who says the state needs more revenue or with Treasurer Kennedy who says the state government has enough money, a significant majority agrees with Kennedy (57%) over the governor (37%).
All likely voters – Edwards 37%/Kennedy 57%
White voters – Edwards 2%/Kennedy 70%
Black voters – Edwards 69%/Kennedy 25%
Republican voters – Edwards 12%/Kennedy 84%
Democratic voters – Edwards 54%/Kennedy 40%
Despite all of the reports about the need for more revenue, voters still do not believe Louisiana has a lack of revenue problem. Instead, Louisiana voters still think the state has a spending problem.
(Photo: Republican Senate President John Alario)