BATON ROUGE, La. (LSU Manship School News Service) — While a majority of Louisiana residents are confident in the elections in the state, trust in local news organizations has plummeted.
The fourth installment of the 2022 Louisiana Survey, released Thursday, reports general confidence in election security but a declining trust in local news organizations.
The survey, released in a series of six reports sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication, was based on online and phone responses from 508 Louisiana residents.
The survey found that 88% of respondents were very or somewhat confident that legally qualified individuals who wish to vote are able to in Louisiana.
Ninety-one percent of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, and 86% of Independents shared this sentiment.
A smaller majority of respondents, 61%, said they were confident that ineligible voters are not casting ballots in Louisiana elections. But opinions split by party.
Only 47% of Republicans said they were confident ineligible voters would be prevented from voting, differing from the three-fourths of Democrats and 64% of Independents who were more confident.
The survey also found that bipartisan agreement disappears in beliefs about whether voting is a fundamental right or a privilege.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats believe voting is a fundamental right that should be afforded to every adult U.S. citizen and not restricted in any way, while 76% of Republicans believe voting is a privilege that can be limited if U.S. citizens do not meet some requirements.
The partisan divide widened in opinions about how changing election rules would affect the security of elections.
Both Democrats, 71%, and Independents, 56%, said that relaxing election rules to make registering and voting easier would not make elections any less secure.
In contrast, 57% of Republicans said the exact opposite.
The second portion of the survey focused on Louisiana citizens’ trust in local news organizations.
In 2018, 78% of respondents said they trusted the information they got from local news organizations.
When asked the same question four years later, only 51% of respondents said they trust the information from those sources.
This 27-percentage-point drop in trust in local news follows the trend of declining trust in national news.
In 2022, just 33% of respondents said they trust information from national news organizations “a lot” or “some,” whereas, in 2018, 57% of respondents trusted information from national news.
The results of this survey come after former President Donald Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election results stirred a national debate about election security and ballot access.
Since then, some states have tightened election codes making it significantly more difficult for millions of Americans to vote. Texas, for instance, passed sweeping changes to its election rules last year that banned drop boxes for mail ballots, prohibited the mailing of ballots to all eligible voters and empowered poll watchers to sue election officials.