Louisiana voters largely oppose raising taxes but they also oppose cutting funding for key programs in state government, including health care and higher education, a new poll suggests.
The statewide poll from Southern Median and Opinion Research released Thursday tested views on a variety of topics that the state Legislature is currently weighing.
It also found that Gov. John Bel Edwards' popularity is dipping a year and a half into his first term in office, with 53.8 percent having a positive view of him to 42 percent who said his job performance has been "not so good" or "poor."
"Edwards honeymoon is officially over," pollster Bernie Pinsonat notes in his analysis of the findings.
The poll, which included 500 likely voters, was conducted May 3-6 by landline and cell phone. It has a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.
Fifty-two percent of the respondents said that they believe Louisiana is heading in the wrong direction, to 31.7 percent who said that it's heading in the right direction. About 16 percent were unsure.
While state lawmakers grapple with building a state budget for the cycle that begins July 1, most of the people who took part in the poll said that the state's fiscal issues are the result of too much spending (54.4 percent). About one in four respondents said that the state doesn't have enough revenue, while 16.2 percent said that there is a spending and a revenue problem plaguing the state.
Voters overwhelmingly said that they support full funding of the popular Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, about 70 percent. Fewer than 24 percent said that they don't think that the scholarships should be cut to shore up the budget. Last year, lawmakers cut funding for TOPS by about 25 percent.
Even fewer of the respondents said that they support cuts to hospitals, with 77.2 percent saying that they oppose cuts to hospitals while 16.1 percent said they would support cuts. About 6.7 percent were unsure.
About 66 percent of those polled said that they believe taxes on businesses are ultimately passed along to customers, while 17.7 percent said that businesses absorb higher taxes and 9.1 percent said they think that a little of both happens.