A Split On Whether LA Heading In Right Or Wrong Direction

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana residents appear evenly split on whether the state is headed in the right or wrong direction, but at least confidence in state government's ability to handle pressing problems is no longer falling, according to a survey of public attitudes by LSU.

         The annual survey of public attitudes by the university's Public Policy Research Lab shows 39 percent of respondents saying they were "very" or "somewhat" confident in state government's ability to handle Louisiana's most pressing problems.

         Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they were either "not very confident" or "not at all confident."

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         Still, an analysis accompanying the survey said it marked the first time in six years that the number expressing confidence had not dropped.

         "From 2009 through 2014, confidence steadily eroded," said the report, which was released Thursday.

         Overall optimism in the state appears to have grown: Forty-four percent of respondents said the state is heading in the right direction, while 45 percent said the opposite. Just two years ago, 52 percent of the poll's respondents answered "wrong direction" with 38 percent saying "right direction."

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         Asked what the state's single most pressing problem is, 25 percent said education, 23 percent said the economy. No other problem listed drew more than a 9 percent response.

         LSU said pollsters surveyed 980 adults by phone from Jan. 12 to Feb. 13. That included 542 interviewed on landlines and 438 on cellphones — including 292 cellphone users who have no landline. Landline respondents were reached through "random digit dialing" to ensure people with and without listed numbers were reached.

         The overall survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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         Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they were about the same financially as they were a year ago; 22 percent said better and 23 percent said worse. Forty-eight percent said business conditions are about the same with 26 percent saying better and 24 percent saying worse.

         Residents in the southwestern part of the state have the most positive outlook, with 55 percent saying the state is heading in the right direction compared to 42 percent who say the state is heading in the wrong direction. "This is the only region where right direction outpolls wrong direction," the LSU analysis said.


         Other results:


— While Republicans dominate Louisiana government, 35 percent of respondents consider themselves Democrats. Twenty-seven percent identified as Republican and 28 percent as independent.


— Asked what grade they would give Louisiana public schools overall, only 4 percent of respondents said an A; 14 percent, a B; 39 percent, a C; 23 percent, a D and 14 percent, an F. Louisiana colleges and universities were seen in a more favorable light with 20 percent getting an A; 44 percent, a B. Only 6 percent gave higher education a D or an F.


— Most respondents, a combined 62 percent, gave the state's roads, bridges and highways a D or an F.

         – by AP Reporter Kevin McGill



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