With slightly more than a week left before the election only two Louisiana voters in every five are paying close attention to the governor’s race, an LSU survey determined.
About the same number, maybe a little more, told pollsters that they’re not really following news about the gubernatorial candidates too closely. Another 20 percent are not paying any attention at all, according to the “Election Report 2015,” conducted by LSU Public Policy Research Lab for the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at the Manship School of Mass Communication.
The pollsters interviewed 893 randomly selected adults from around the state by cell phone and landline from Sept. 17 to Oct. 11. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percent.
While the percentage of the population is paying more attention than they did in March — 25 percent then, 39 percent now — interest in the down ballot state races is much lighter.
Only 29 percent are voters following the elections for state legislature, while 17 percent and 15 percent are following news about the elections for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Lieutenant Governor, respectively.
“What it says,” according to Michael B. Henderson, who as the Lab’s research director handled the actual polling, “is that more people are paying attention, maybe not as many as you would like, only 40 percent, but the trend seems to be that more voters are becoming engaged … It is not a lot still.”
At about the same point during last fall’s U.S. Senate race about 50 percent of Louisiana voters were paying attention.
As voters become more engaged, they are recognizing the candidates better and forming opinions about them. The name recognition factors of Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, while well known in state government circles, were not as widely recognized in the general public as Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who have higher profile jobs.
“Opinions about these candidates were relatively soft through the summer,” Henderson said. All the candidates saw their recognition and favorability numbers go up, but they also saw their unfavorability numbers rise as well.