A new poll commissioned by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and distributed to state House members found wide support for a statewide mask mandate and opposition to an effort led by conservative lawmakers to repeal the state's public health emergency, thereby ending all coronavirus restrictions.
Schexnayder, a Republican from Gonzales, has in recent weeks urged his fellow GOP members not to join a conservative faction of legislators seeking to overturn the state's emergency declaration. The survey shows 61% of those polled believe the public health emergency in Louisiana should not be canceled, 22% believe it should be canceled and 17% are undecided.
Schexnayder sent the poll to members Wednesday afternoon via text. It was paid for by his 501(c)(4), Leading Louisiana, which aims to promote his and Senate President Page Cortez's legislative goals.
"In light of the governor's recent extension of Phase 2 and the continued discussion surrounding the petition to cancel the health emergency declaration, I thought it would be helpful for you to see where the residents of our districts stand," Schexnayder said in the text.
Remington Research Group, a Kansas City-based pollster that has done surveys in previous Louisiana elections, conducted the poll of 3,600, which has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. The survey shakes out to six polls of each of the state's six congressional districts, with 600 respondents each.
Seventy percent of the respondents were landlines reached through a robo-call, while 30% were reached on cell phones through live callers.
The survey was conducted on July 18 and 19, about a week after the Democratic Gov. Edwards issued a statewide mask mandate. When asked whether the government should require the masks be worn in public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, 76% said yes, 17% no and 7% not sure.
The question about the petition read, "In March, Gov. Edwards declared a public health emergency for Louisiana, allowing Louisiana to coordinate with the federal government in response to COVID-19. Currently, there is a petition being circulated by members of the legislature to cancel the Governor’s health emergency and fully open up Louisiana. If successful, Louisiana would be the only state in America not under an official state public health emergency. Do you believe the public health emergency in Louisiana should be canceled?"
Republicans were more likely to support ending the health emergency, with 34% in favor compared to 12% of Democrats and 20% of no-party respondents. 48% of Republicans, 74% of Democrats and 60% of no-party responded "no."
The support of the mask mandate echoes what some recent national polling has found on the subject. A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,991 registered voters conducted July 17-19 found 72% expressed support for a mask mandate, including 58% of Republicans.
The Remington poll in Louisiana found partisan differences in whether masks should be mandated, with 89% of Democrats, 64% of Republicans and 75% of no-party respondents in support.