HPU Poll: Majority of North Carolina Voters Say US Should Take Active Role in Dangerous World

HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 24, 2014 – The most recent High Point University Poll finds a majority of likely voters are monitoring conflicts in Syria and Iraq and advocating for the United States to take an active role in a world they see as increasingly dangerous for the U.S.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of North Carolina’s likely voters say it is best for the future of the country if the U.S. takes an active part in world affairs. Furthermore, nearly 9 out of 10 (87 percent) likely voters view this role in the context of a world that is becoming more rather than less dangerous for the U.S. and the American people.

The poll also examined two specific international conflicts that have been making recent headlines: political violence in Iraq and Syria. In both cases, a large majority of likely voters – 66 percent in the case of Syria and 65 in the case of Iraq – have read or heard a lot about the violence in these places. A split occurs, however, on the extent to which these voters see a responsibility for the U.S. to take action to address the situations in these countries. More respondents believe that the U.S. has more responsibility to do something about the violence in Iraq (64 percent) than to do something about the fighting in Syria (51 percent).

These conflicts are not the only current international concerns for these voters. Forty-four percent of respondents said they were following the news about the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa either very or extremely closely. However, only one-third (32 percent) of respondents feared a large outbreak inside the U.S. within the next year.

“Voters in North Carolina continue to express a general interest in the U.S. having an active global role. It is interesting that more likely voters in North Carolina do not feel as strongly about the U.S. taking responsibility to do something about the violence in Syria as they do in Iraq,” said Brian McDonald, assistant director of the HPU Poll. “With a range of foreign policy problems in the news, we will continue to field questions about the U.S. role so we can track changes over time.”

 

Likely voters – U.S. role in the world

Do you think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs, or if we stay out of world affairs?

Active part – 66 percent

Stay out – 25 percent

Don’t know/refused – 9 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed September 13 – 18, n = 410 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5 percent)

 

Likely voters – World safer or more dangerous for U.S.

Thinking about current U.S. relations with the rest of the world, would you say that the world is becoming safer or more dangerous for the U.S. and the American people?

Safer – 6 percent

More dangerous – 87 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 7 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed September 13 – 18, n = 410 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5 percent)

 

Likely voters  – Political violence in Syria

How much, if anything, have you read or heard about recent political violence in Syria? Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

A lot – 66 percent

A little – 30 percent

Nothing at all – 3 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 1 percent

 

Likely voters  – U.S. responsibility in Syria

Do you think the United States has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups, or doesn’t the United States have this responsibility?

U.S. has responsibility – 51 percent

U.S. does not have responsibility – 38 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 11 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed September 13 – 18, n = 410 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5 percent)

 

Likely voters  – Political violence in Iraq

How much, if anything, have you read or heard about recent political violence in Iraq? Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

A lot – 65 percent

A little – 29 percent

Nothing at all – 6 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 1 percent

 

Likely voters  – U.S. responsibility in Iraq

Do you think the United States has a responsibility to do something about the violence in Iraq or doesn’t the United States have this responsibility?

U.S. has responsibility – 64 percent

U.S. does not have responsibility – 28 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 8 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed September 13 – 18, n = 410 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5 percent)

 

Likely voters  – News about Ebola outbreak

How closely are you following news about the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa? Are you following the news…

Extremely closely – 19 percent

Very closely – 25 percent

Somewhat closely – 38 percent

Not very closely – 12 percent

Not at all – 5 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 1 percent

 

Likely voters  – Concern about Ebola in U.S.

Are you concerned that there will be large outbreak of Ebola inside the United States within the next 12 months, or aren’t you concerned about that?

Concerned – 32 percent

Not concerned – 64 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed September 13 – 18, n = 410 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5 percent)

 

 

The High Point University Survey Research Center fielded this survey with live interviewers calling between September 13 and 18, 2014. The responses came from 410 likely voters with landline or cellular telephones. First, registered voters were identified using a Registration Based Sampling system that selected possible respondents from a statewide, North Carolina list of registered voters that had landline and cell phone numbers appended by a contractor. Likely voters were estimated by asking a screening question: “On November 4, North Carolina will hold their general election for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and other offices. How certain are you that you will vote in this election? Are you almost certain to vote, you probably will vote, your chances of voting are 50/50, or you will not vote in the November 2014 general election?” The only registered voters who passed the screen were those who responded “almost certain” or “probably” to the screening question AND voted in the 2010 general election in North Carolina, registered in North Carolina after 2010 and voted in the 2012 general election, or registered in North Carolina since 2012 passed the screen. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 5 percentage points for this population of respondents. The data are weighted toward estimated turn out figures for age, gender and race based on North Carolina Board of Elections data and exit polls from past campaigns. 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.

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. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the assistant director of the HPU Poll.

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