2021 Louisiana Survey shows education, employment effects of pandemic, mixed evaluations of government response

Researchers in the Public Policy Research Lab, or PPRL, at LSU Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs have released the second of five reports of the 2021 Louisiana Survey. Findings reflect mixed evaluations of government response to the pandemic and a third of adult residents refuse the vaccine. 

The Louisiana Survey polled 781 adult residents from across the state to find out how Louisianans view their government and its policies. The survey was conducted from January 4 to March 1, and the total sample has a +/- 6.4 percent margin of error.

Findings from the second of five reports indicate the following opinions on Louisiana government and issues related to the pandemic:

  • Although only about one in eight Louisiana residents say they tested positive for COVID-19, the pandemic touched many more lives in other ways. Seventy-nine percent of adults in the state say they personally know someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly half (48 percent) say they personally know someone who has died from the disease. 
  • Thirty-one percent of Louisiana residents say they lost their job or had a loss of income because of the pandemic. Nearly the same share (27 percent) live with someone who suffered the loss of a job or income. 
  • By early March, 32 percent of Louisiana residents said they had not yet received the vaccine and did not intend to do so even when they are eligible. Another 17 percent said they had already received a vaccination against COVID-19, and still another 41 percent said they intend to receive the vaccine when it is available to them. 
  • There is a substantial racial gap in how children are receiving instruction from schools during the pandemic. Eighty-two percent of white parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade say their child attends entirely in-person, but just 45 percent of Black parents say their child attends entirely in-person.
  • Fifty-six percent of parents of school-age children think their child learned less over the past year than they would have if not for the pandemic. Despite this, 77 percent are satisfied with the instruction provided by their child’s school during the pandemic. Just 21 percent of parents are dissatisfied with the instruction their child’s school provided. 
  • Forty-nine percent of state residents approve of the state’s handling of the outbreak, while 38 percent disapprove – for a net approval of +11 percentage points. 
  • Seventy-five percent of state residents support the state continuing to allow more days of early voting, but just 49 percent support the state continuing to allow more people to vote by mail. 

Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Center, is available for interviews. Contact acharbonnet1@lsu.edu to schedule.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted for the past 20 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 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 full first report from the Louisiana Survey at http://pprllsu.com/projects/. The third of five reports from the Louisiana Survey is slated for release on Tuesday, April 6.