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Executive Summary Louisiana Statewide Survey
Methodology Four hundred voters in the state of Louisiana were interviewed in a random sample conducted December 9-14, 2013. The sample was balanced according to all known demographic factors. All interviews were conducted using The Kitchens Group Internet Voter Panel. The margin of error for this survey is ± 4.9%, with a 95% confidence level. Findings Finding #1 – The loss of coastal wetlands in Louisiana is a most important bipartisan issue. Saving our state’s coast is the most important issue of my lifetime. agree disagree 74% 26%
Nearly three-fourths of the voters believe saving Louisiana's coast is the most important issue of their lifetime. Results indicate 74% of Republicans, 85% of Democrats and 70% of Independents express this opinion. How concerned are you about the loss of coastal wetlands? Are you! very concerned somewhat concerned not too concerned not concerned at all not familiar with the issue 49% 36% 9% 2% 5%
Overall, 85% of voters are concerned about the loss of coastal wetlands. This concern is expressed by 83% of Republicans, 85% of Democrats, and 86% of Independent voters. Perhaps most notably, a majority of both parties say they are "very concerned" about the issue. Fifty-two percent of strong Republicans and 56% of strong Democrats say they are “very concerned” about the loss of coastal wetlands.
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Finding #2 – Nearly all voters agree that solutions to coastal erosion will require a team effort, and cooperation among all sectors and interests is necessary to be successful. It will require a team effort of government, industry, education, and non-profit organizations to restore the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. A unified effort is the best hope for coastal restoration and protection, not assigning blame for what has been lost. agree disagree 97% 3%
Voters are virtually unanimous in their opinions that restoration of the coast will require a team effort of all stakeholders. Perceived conflicts between energy production and environmental protection have become too politically divisive. To solve both problems, we need leaders to cooperate more and not engage in partisan politics. agree disagree 95% 5%
Ninety-five percent of voters think leaders of both parties need to cooperate to solve the problem. Ninety-seven percent of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 97% of Independents hold this opinion. Finding #3 - Both Democrats and Republicans think that economic benefits to the state can only come with environmental sustainability and that both are possible. There is a link between a strong coastal environment and a strong economy. agree disagree 91% 9%
Ninety-one percent of Louisiana voters agree with this statement, with a majority of them strongly agreeing. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 95% of Independents agree with this statement. It is reasonable to expect that we can drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and protect the environment of the Gulf Coast. agree disagree 84% 16%
Eighty-four percent of Louisiana voters believe it is reasonable to both drill off the Gulf and protect the environment of the Gulf Coast. The results indicate 87% of Republicans, 81% of Democrats and 84% of Independents hold this opinion.
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Maintaining the sustainability of the Gulf Coast region’s recreation and commerce should be a priority. This means the environment along the Gulf Coast would have great fisheries, oysters, and shrimp, while also producing 90% of the nation’s offshore oil and gas. agree disagree 97% 3%
Overall, 97% of the voters believe the Gulf Coast can produce both seafood and energy. Ninety-seven percent of Republicans, 97% of Democrats, and 95% of Independents agree with this statement. Finding #4 - Both Democrats and Republicans feel it is the responsibility of government and the energy industry to protect coastal wetlands. Do you think the federal government should be responsible for protecting coastal areas supplying energy to the U.S. be responsible should not be responsible 90% 10%
Ninety percent of the voters feel the federal government should be responsible for protecting the coastal areas supplying energy to the U.S. Examining these responses by political party indicates 90% of Republicans, 92% of Democrats, and 88% of Independents hold this opinion. Oil companies should cooperate with local and state governments to develop solutions to our energy and environmental problems. agree disagree 94% 6%
Ninety-four percent of the voters agree that it will take a cooperative effort among the energy industry and local and state governments to balance of industry priorities and environmental concerns. Ninety-six percent of Republicans, 96% of Democrats, and 92% of Independents strongly agree with the statement. The oil industry has a responsibility to lobby Congress for federal protection of coastal areas that support energy development. agree disagree 87% 13%
Eighty-seven percent of Louisiana voters think the oil industry has a responsibility to lobby Congress for protection of coastal areas. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 84% of Independents hold this opinion.
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The federal government shares a small percentage of oil and gas revenues with the states that produce the oil and gas. The federal government should allocate a higher percentage of oil and gas tax revenues for the states that produce the energy. agree disagree 94% 6%
Overall, 94% of Louisiana voters feel the federal government should send a larger percentage of oil and gas taxes back to the producing states. Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 97% of Independents hold this opinion. Finding #5 - The voters closest to the Gulf Coast, i.e., voters in the New Orleans media market, are the most negative about BP’s advertising campaign. Since the BP oil spill, advertising by BP has! 47% 28% 25% Been honest in showing that the company has good intentions. Hurt the region and the energy sector because it has kept the oil spill on the minds of most Americans every day. Falsely covered up untrue statements by BP
A majority of voters (53%) feel that advertising by BP has either hurt the region by continuously reminding people of the oil spill, or are an effort to cover up false statements. The reaction is more negative from the voters in the New Orleans media market, where 36% say the advertising has been honest, 33% say it has hurt the region, and 31% believe it is an effort to cover up untrue statements by BP. Do you feel that some energy companies are more supportive of the effort to preserve the Gulf coast than others? Yes No Unsure 62% 15% 23%
A majority of voters see a difference in the way that oil companies are responding to the problems of the Gulf Coast. Sixty eight percent of both Democrats and Republicans hold this opinion. Fifty-five percent of Independents believe some oil companies are more supportive than others.
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Finding #6 - Strong Republicans are the only group who disagree with the idea that Americans must learn to consume less. Which of the following best describes how you feel? 65% 35% Americans must learn to consume less of everything. It is the only way we can become energy independent and protect the quality of our environment. There is plenty of oil off our shores and we should free the oil companies to drill and find it. That is the only way we will become energy independent. Drilling off shore does not hurt the environment.
Sixty-five percent of Louisiana voters believe Americans must learn to consume less in order to become energy independent and protect the environment. The one group who disagrees with this position is strong Republicans. Only 46% of strong Republicans agree with the idea that Americans must learn to consume less, and 54% believe that drilling does not hurt the environment. Finding #7 – Voters are concerned about climate change and support actions to address the problem. Do you believe climate change! Is a serious problem that threatens everyone Is not nearly as serious a problem as other problems facing our country 72% 28%
More than 70% of Louisiana voters say climate is a serious problem that threatens everyone. Sixty-six percent of Republicans, 83% of Democrats, and 72% of Independents feel climate change is a serious threat. There is a growing discussion about the impact of green house gasses on the environment. Scientists maintain restoring wetlands and forests would reduce carbon emissions in the air. This could provide opportunities to improve the environment by providing carbon credits to fund coastal restoration in areas of severe land loss. In addition, carbon could be recycled and reused. Knowing this, do you believe: Using wetlands to capture and store carbon dioxide is a good way to help the environment. Or Climate change is not really a significant problem, so efforts to capture carbon are not really a worth it, whether or not it could restore the ecosystem. 29% 71%
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Seventy-one percent of Louisiana voters think using wetlands to store carbon is a good method of helping the environment. Sixty-five percent of Republicans, 76% of Democrats, and 71% of Independents believe restoring wetlands could help the environment. Finding #8 – Louisiana voters want the State to push forward with a coastal restoration master plan and not be deterred by special interests. The State of Louisiana has a plan to restore its coast based on scientific and engineering studies. The first step in the plan focuses on creating diversions in the Mississippi River to return some of the natural sediment and nutrients to dying wetlands. A second step is to focus on restoring barrier islands. Some groups, like oyster fishermen, object to moving oyster production back which will cost them three production years. Knowing this, should the state move forward with this plan? Yes No 75% 25%
Seventy-five percent of voters support moving forward with the state’s plan. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans, 72% of Democrats, and 75% of Independent voters support the state’s plan. Finding #9 – There is a strong, broad-based belief that the cost of property insurance and the cost of wetland restoration are directly related. The cost of property insurance is a huge issue in the Gulf Coast and is directly related to our wetlands and barrier islands. agree disagree 83% 17%
Eighty-three percent of voters believe there is a direct connection between the costs of property insurance and wetlands and barrier islands. Examining the partisan responses indicates 85% of Republicans, 83% of Democrats and 82% of Independent voters hold this opinion. The federal government is considering ending subsidies that keep insurance rates low for homeowners and businesses located in coastal zones vulnerable to hurricane damage. This would mean a substantial rise in insurance rates in areas along the coast Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If we would restore our coast and bring back natural protections, such as wetlands, this issue would not be as much of a problem. agree disagree 88% 12%
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Eighty-eight percent of the voters believe coastal restoration will reduce the insurance problem in the region. Ninety percent of Democrats and Republicans believe this statement. Eighty percent of Independents believe the statement. The federal government should continue to subsidize insurance rates for most residents in coastal zones. agree disagree 79% 21%
At this time, 79% of Louisiana voters feel the federal government should be subsidizing insurance rates for residents in coastal zones. Seventy-four percent of Republicans, 81% of Democrats and 81% of Independents express this opinion. Conclusion The results of this survey indicate the Louisiana voters clearly see the restoration of the Gulf Coast as the major issue and concern of their lives. The voters are looking for a national solution to this problem, feeling that the benefits derived by the nation from Louisiana’s wetlands mean that the federal government should be responsible for a solution. Interestingly, a large majority of voters are willing to take on some responsibility for helping to do their part, while believing that it will take cooperative action by all sectors including government, industry, NGOs, education to make a difference. Demographics of the Survey In which of the following age categories do you fall? 18-34 – 41% 35-49 – 29% 50-64 – 20% 65 or older – 11% Politically speaking, do you consider yourself! A strong Republican – 26% A borderline Republican – 14% A borderline Democrat – 16% A strong Democrat – 17% A an independent – 24% A political party other such as the Reform Party or the Green Party? - 0%
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How would you describe the community where you live? Big city – 16% Suburbs – 28% Mid-size city – 23% Small town – 18% Rural area – 15% Refused – 0% Just for statistical purposes, could you tell me which of the following best describes your total family income: Less than $50,000 – 47% Between $50,000 and $75,000 – 33% Between $75,000 and $100,000 – 12% More than $100,000 – 8% Which of the following best describes your race or ethnicity? White – 66% African American – 23% Hispanic – 6% Asian American – 4% Other – 3% Are you Male – 41% Female – 59% Media Markets: New Orleans Baton Rouge Lafayette Monroe Shreveport Lake Charles Alexandria ! 34% 15% 13% 13% 12% 7% 5%
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