New Poll Shows Over 80% of Coastal Louisianans Support Sediment Diversions
08.12.2021 | In Press Releases
Support for key restoration projects is broad in every region and among every demographic, including 74% of respondents in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes
NEW ORLEANS (Aug. 12, 2021) — There is widespread, bipartisan support for action to address Louisiana’s urgent land loss crisis through sediment diversions and other science-based restoration efforts, according to a new poll of coastal Louisiana voters released today by Global Strategy Group (GSG) and Environmental Defense Fund. These results are consistent with prior polls in recent years that also showed significant, widespread support for these projects across regions.
Coastal Louisianans are familiar with the problem of land loss and see it as an urgent issue that must be addressed now. Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of its coastal land. Without the implementation of projects from the state’s Coastal Master Plan, the state could lose an additional 4,000 square miles in the next 50 years. An overwhelming 97% of Louisiana’s coastal voters agree that state officials should work to maintain as much of Louisiana’s coast as possible, even if it’s not possible to restore the original footprint.
Louisiana voters are already feeling the impacts of hurricanes, extreme weather and climate change and are concerned about how these forces will impact the future of the state and their own families. An overwhelming 86% of voters indicate that stronger hurricanes and increased coastal flooding are already having a serious impact on Louisiana, with 70% reporting these forces are already impacting themselves and their families. The poll also found that 66% of voters believe climate change is already having a serious impact on Louisiana and acknowledge that if we fail to act now, it will continue to have a serious impact on future generations.
According to the poll, voters are widely in agreement about how the state should address its land loss crisis with 82% of coastal Louisiana voters supporting sediment diversions — large-scale coastal restoration projects that would reconnect the Mississippi River to wetlands to sustain them over time. Support for diversions is strong in every region and among every demographic, including 74% of voters in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. More than half (56%) of voters indicate they would view state and local elected officials who support these projects more favorably and only 7% would view elected officials who support these projects less favorably. Moreover, support for sediment diversions is incredibly robust, holding at 70% after voters are exposed to a balanced debate that includes the language actually being used by certain opponents of these projects.
“This poll makes clear that Louisianans are feeling the effects of flooding and land loss today and are deeply concerned about a future with fewer wetlands, more intense hurricanes and higher seas,” said Steve Cochran, Environmental Defense Fund Associate Vice President for Coastal Resilience and Campaign Director for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. “Voters in every region also show a great capacity to wade through the debates around sediment diversions, and strongly support these projects after considering all sides. Louisiana voters want elected officials to put the Mississippi River to work to restore and maintain as much of our coastal wetland buffer as possible, before it’s too late.”
Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is advancing the Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton Sediment Diversions —projects that will build and maintain tens of thousands of acres of land and habitat on either side of the river in Plaquemines Parish. Voters also see diversion projects as having a positive impact on the region’s ability to withstand hurricane storm surge and sea level rise, jobs and the economy, the area’s culture and way of life, as well as commercial fisheries in the long term.
The poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group (GSG) for Environmental Defense Fund on behalf of Restore the Mississippi River Delta to determine the familiarity, interest and support for major coastal issues facing Louisiana.
“This kind of cross-partisan consensus is virtually unheard of in today’s political climate. I’ve been polling on conservation issues for over a decade, and this is some of the broadest, most intense and most robust support for a policy I have ever seen. It is clear that coastal Louisiana voters are in broad agreement about the urgent need to protect Louisiana’s coast. Moreover, Louisiana’s leaders have a significant political mandate to act to protect Louisiana’s coastal wetlands now and in the future.”
– Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President of Research for Global Strategy Group
About the poll:
Global Strategy Group conducted a telephone survey of 1,058 registered voters in coastal Louisiana between July 14 and July 20, 2021. At least 150 interviews were conducted in each region of interest, including Orleans, Jefferson, Ascension, East and West Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, Lafourche, St. Mary, Terrebonne, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. In the combined data, each region was weighted to be proportional to its share of registered voters within the coastal region. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level for coastal voters is not greater than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. In Greater New Orleans, the margin of error is not greater than plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. The margin of error for other regions is not greater than plus or minus 8.0 percentage points.
About Restore the Mississippi River Delta:
Restore the Mississippi River Delta is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Pontchartrain Conservancy, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Global Strategy Group (GSG):
GSG partners with our clients to build their reputations, tackle big challenges, and win campaigns. Twice named Democratic Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants, GSG is the largest Democratic polling firm in the country and has polled in more races than any other Democratic polling firm since the 2010 cycle. GSG is also one of the environmental community’s most trusted firms, having conducted scores of polls over the last few years on environmental and conservative issues on issues like climate change, clean energy, air and water pollution, and protecting public lands for clients such EDF, LCV, Sierra Club, NRDC, and The National Wildlife Foundation, among others.