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HPU/UNC Poll: N.C. Voters Say Economy is Worst Problem and Republicans are Best Party to Fix It

04.9.2014

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 9, 2014 – A new HPU/UNC Poll places the economy atop a list of most important problems according to North Carolina voters, who also give Republicans an edge in dealing with the issue. One quarter (25 percent) of registered voters responding to the poll chose the economy as the most important problem out of seven major issues, and 45 percent of respondents said Republicans would do a better job dealing with this issue.

Of the other issues, 18 percent chose government ineffectiveness as the most important issue facing the country, and a virtual three-way tie occurred as approximately 15 percent of registered voters chose health care, the budget deficit or education. Respondents were split over whether Democrats or Republicans would do a better job dealing with the issue of government ineffectiveness, while almost one in five (19 percent) of respondents said that neither political party would do a better job dealing with the issue.

Respondents chose Republicans as the appropriate party to deal with the budget deficit and national security, while they saw Democrats as better at dealing with education and the nation’s energy problems. Respondents gave no advantage to either party on the issues of immigration and Social Security.

“Even though other issues have been part of the political discourse, it is important to note that the economy is still the most prominent among these issues,” said Sadie Leder Elder, assistant professor of psychology and associate director of the HPU Poll. “And given the generally negative view that people have of the government these days, it should be no surprise that even though government ineffectiveness is also a chief concern, a healthy fraction of voters say that neither party is well equipped to handle it.”

 

Registered voters – Most important problem

Now I am going to read a list of possible problems facing this country today.  Please wait for me to read the entire list, then tell me which ONE of these problems is the MOST important facing the country today.

The economy – 25 percent

Government ineffectiveness – 18

Health care – 15

The budget deficit – 15

Education – 15

National security – 8

Immigration – 2

Don’t know/refuse – 2 percent

(North Carolina registered voter sample surveyed March 23 – 27 and March 29 – April 3, 2014, n = 595 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

 

Registered voters – Political parties and policy issues

Now I am going to read you a list of issues that political parties in Washington, D.C. might have to deal with.  For each issue, please tell me whether you think the Democratic Party or the Republican Party would do a better job dealing with this issue.

 

The Economy

Democratic party – 34 percent

Republican party – 45 percent

Both equally – 4 percent

Neither – 13 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

 

Government ineffectiveness

Democratic party – 34 percent

Republican party – 37 percent

Both equally – 6 percent

Neither – 19 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 6 percent

 

Health care

Democratic party – 48 percent

Republican party – 40 percent

Both equally – 1 percent

Neither – 7 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 3 percent

 

The Budget Deficit

Democratic party – 32 percent

Republican party – 44 percent

Both equally – 3 percent

Neither – 17 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

Education

Democratic party – 53 percent

Republican party – 28 percent

Both equally – 7 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

National Security

Democratic party – 28 percent

Republican party – 53 percent

Both equally – 7 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

 

Immigration

Democratic party – 41 percent

Republican party – 41 percent

Both equally – 3 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 6 percent

 

Social Security

Democratic party – 41 percent

Republican party – 38 percent

Both equally – 3 percent

Neither – 13 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

 

The Nation’s Energy Problems

Democratic party – 47 percent

Republican party – 32 percent

Both equally – 4 percent

Neither – 9 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 7 percent

(North Carolina registered voter sample surveyed March 23 – 27 and March 29 – April 3, 2014, n = 595 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

The most recent survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 23 – 27 and March 29 – April 3, 2014. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 595 self-identified registered voters with landline or cellular telephones. Registered voters were identified as responding “yes” to this question: “These days, many people are so busy they can’t find time to register to vote, or move around so often they don’t get a chance to re-register. Are you NOW registered to vote in your precinct or election district here in North Carolina or haven’t you been able to register so far?” The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4 percentage points for these respondents. The data are weighted toward registered voter population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

The previous survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 16 – 20, 2014. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.9 percentage points for these respondents. The data are weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender and race.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/.  The materials on-line include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SurveyResearchCenter and Twitter at http://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Daniel Riffe, the Richard Cole Eminent Professor at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, helped design and fund the survey.  Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder Elder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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