A majority of respondents to this month’s Acadiana Advocate Power Poll were encouraged at the results of the state legislature’s override session but feel more partisan battles are on the horizon.
Just over half indicated the Gov. John Bel Edwards' vetoes of lawmakers’ bills that would have allowed permitless concealed carry of guns and prohibited transgender girls from competing in high school sports should stand. Both items that have entered the culture war debates in legislatures across the country.
The veto session was the first in state history, and Republican lawmakers were convinced going in they had the votes to override the governor’s vetoes.
About 38% of respondents were indicated they were surprised at the outcome after feeling convinced lawmakers had enough votes to override the vetoes, and 10% responded they were disappointed in how Republicans missed an opportunity to make a statement.
The Senate failed at overriding the veto on permitless carry, ending the effort to would have allowed Louisiana residents 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The bill would have done away with the mandatory background check and firearms safety training course currently required to carry a concealed firearm.
The bill was strongly opposed by officials in law enforcement.
“The fact that sheriffs and police chiefs opposed the gun-toting bill should tell us something,” said Barry Ancelet, founder of Festival Acadiens et Creoles. “If a situation develops in a store or restaurant or bank or on the street, I don't want just any untrained armed person deciding who should get shot. You can never tell who will try to be the next Billy the Kid.”
In the Power Poll, 78% of respondents favored Edwards’ veto of the bill. Just under 17% opposed the veto.
“More gun toting is not the solution to gun violence, nor will it lead to greater public safety,” said Whalen Gibbs, president of 100 Black Men of Lafayette.
On the transgender athlete ban, the Senate got enough votes to override, but the measure failed in the House. Needing 70 votes for an override, the House secured only 68 votes. Legislators then adjourned, leaving all of the governor’s 28 vetoes to stand.
Nearly 55% of respondents were in favor of the veto on the measure, while 31% were not in favor of the veto and 14% had no opinion.
When asked to assess the outcome of the session:
- 56% indicated it will deepen the political divide in the legislature between Democrats and Republicans.
- 20% indicated Edwards came out of it the real winner by getting the votes necessary to fend off the overrides.
- 12% indicated Republicans failed at their goal and missed a golden opportunity.
- 12% indicated Republicans may have failed but made a statement by calling the first override session in state history.
In a separate topic, in an update from an earlier poll, 88% of respondents said they have received the coronavirus vaccine. That total is about double the number of respondents who said in April they were vaccinated.
About 12% indicated they have not gotten vaccinated and don’t plan on doing so. That’s down from 23% from the April poll.
Conducted online Monday through Thursday, The Acadiana Advocate Power Poll survey is not a scientific inquiry. But because it asks questions of leaders from various sectors throughout Acadiana, it does afford nonpartisan insight into the thoughts and opinions of the community. Of 177 Power Poll members surveyed, 43 voted for a participation rate of 25%.
The Acadiana Advocate Power Poll is a partnership between the news organization and powerpoll.com, a nonpartisan survey, news and information company focused on the opinions of influential people. Powerpoll.com is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and surveys in 26 metropolitan markets.