Strangely enough, the Baton Rouge Business Report ran a poll on one of the state’s more controversial and consequential issues in some time yesterday, and didn’t even bother to report the results in its reporting today.
The poll? Whether a merger of Southern University’s New Orleans campus with nearby University of New Orleans is a good idea.
The results were striking – some 78 percent of the respondents favored the merger, while 16 percent opposed it and five percent said they didn’t know.
The merger will need a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate, assuming the governor’s called-for Board of Regents study returns a positive feasibility result (hint: it will). That might be a heavy lift in a pair of bodies still containing a large minority of Democrats (the House) and a tenuous Democrat majority (the Senate). In a year, though, a more conservative legislature could well follow through on the idea and execute the merger.
Then again, with a $1.6 billion budget hole to fill and a 78 percent consensus in favor of the merger, perhaps it’s not an impossible plan in this legislature after all. Politicians who oppose the will of 78 percent of the electorate in an election year do so at their peril.