June 7, 2024 6:00am

Donald Trump a lock in Louisiana, notwithstanding his crimes

Power Poll finds unwavering support for former president, coastal agency and phone ban in schools

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New Orleans, LA Correspondent
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Thirty-four felony crime convictions would be plenty enough to doom most politicians.

Not Donald Trump, and not in Louisiana, according to the latest Power Poll. Most respondents say Louisiana will give the former chief executive about the same level of support in the Nov. 5 presidential election as it did in 2020 -- and 1 in 5 said the state will give him even more.

To some extent, the results reflect how strongly committed Trump supporters are to him, nothwithstanding a jury of his New York peers convicting him of falsifying business records to conceal damaging information from voters before and after the 2016 election. In that race, the Republican defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton (58% to 38% just in Louisiana); in 2020, Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden (but won Louisiana 58-40).

Yet Charles Talley, a partner at the Kean Miller law firm, said there's more to the poll results than Trump loyalists.

"Trump will most likely end up with a higher percentage of the vote than he did in 2016, but not due to his convictions," Talley said. "The poor performance of the current administration has most Louisianans worse off than they were four years ago. With that track record, more votes will go to the non-Biden candidate, in this case, Trump."

Coastal protection

Perhaps Trump's most prominent backer in Louisiana is Republican Gov. Jeff Landry, who wants to merge the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority into the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, and to add three gubernatorial appointments to the agency's governing board. Landry allies say the merger would make government more efficient, but critics question the coast's prospects if overseen by the same department that regulates the oil and gas industry under such a pro-industry governor.

Power Poll respondents overwhelmingly side with the critics.

"The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was created for the people of Louisiana to protect their way of life and to assure the best possible flood protection. CPRA is highly effective due to its stand-alone structure," said Sandy Rosenthal, founder and president of levees.org. "Merging CPRA with the Louisiana Department of Energy and Natural Resources is a dangerous move, which will harm the safety of Louisiana residents."

On a semi-related coastal question, almost half the poll respondents say they are more likely to evacuate for hurricanes this year, in light of climate change's proclivity to intensify storms and the government's prediction of a record high number of named storms in 2024.

Hanging up

In public education, the Legislature has forbidden students to use their phones during the school day, a move that won near-total backing from Power Poll respondents. Only 7% doubted it will help education.

"There is no reason for a student to have a cell phone in a classroom," said Betsy Threefoot Kaston, former president of Jewish Family Services of Greater New Orleans. "As a retired educator, I remember well when my students started bringing phones to school following 9/11. Parents wanted to able to contact their children in case of another major emergency. School shootings made it worse. Today, it is out of control."

Said Talley: "Banning the phones will help a little, but there are bigger problems to tackle such as discipline, teacher competency and parental involvement."

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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