HPU Poll: Positive Ratings for Clintons and G. W. Bush in NC; Most Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates Not Well-Known

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 20, 2014 – The next presidential election is two years away, but already many are talking about who may run or have influence over its outcome. When it comes to major political figures who have either served as president, may run for president or may influence voters in some way, the HPU Poll finds 50 percent or greater favorability ratings for both Bill and Hillary Clinton and former President George W. Bush, while most potential 2016 presidential candidates lack name recognition.

The husband and wife team of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton earned 61 percent and 52 percent favorability ratings, respectively. Thirty percent of adults in North Carolina say they have an unfavorable view of President Clinton whereas 38 percent have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton. Former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama have comparable ratings with 51 percent and 49 percent expressing a favorable review of them, respectively. Almost all respondents know and offer an opinion of these well-known figures.

The poll also asks North Carolinians about several possible candidates for 2016 presidential nominations. Among Republicans, the survey found that while all potential candidates had relatively high percentages of North Carolinians who would not offer an opinion about them, no one has favorability ratings higher than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (33 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable, 26 percent did not know or had never heard of him). Other Republicans in the survey were Marco Rubio (25 percent favorable), Rick Perry (24 percent favorable), Ben Carson (24 percent favorable) and Ted Cruz (21 percent favorable). U.S. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has a 24 percent favorable rating with a 13 percent unfavorable rating and 58 percent not expressing an opinion or saying they do not know who she is.

“When thinking about presidents and possible presidential candidates, the favorability ratings show that there are two tiers in terms of who is known by people in North Carolina. The present and former presidents are familiar to most people, while most potential candidates for president—with the understandable exception of Hillary Clinton—are not yet well known to the public,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “We are still two years out from Election Day 2016, but this survey shows a baseline of support for and knowledge of some possible candidates for president.”

The poll also examined overall favorability for incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Senator-Elect Thom Tillis. Tillis has a favorability rating of 34 percent with 47 percent of North Carolina residents viewing him in an unfavorable way. Of those same North Carolina adults, 39 percent have a favorable view of Hagan, while 48 percent have an unfavorable view. Meanwhile, almost three quarters (73 percent) of self-identified 2014 voters within the sample say that both Hagan and Tillis ran negative campaigns for U.S. Senate.

The poll also asked about Moral Monday protesters, finding that they had a 25 percent favorability rating with 25 percent viewing them unfavorably and 44 percent not offering a response or saying they had never heard of them.

 

 

All adults – Favorability ratings for people and organizations

Now I am going to read a list of people and groups. For each one, please tell me whether your overall opinion of that person or group is favorable or unfavorable. If you have never heard of this person or group, you should say so. [QUESTIONS WERE RANDOMIZED]

 

Bill Clinton

Favorable – 61 percent

Unfavorable – 30 percent

Neither – 6 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 3 percent

 

Hillary Clinton

Favorable – 52 percent

Unfavorable – 38 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 2 percent

 

George W. Bush

Favorable – 51 percent

Unfavorable – 41 percent

Neither – 5 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 3 percent

 

Barack Obama

Favorable – 49 percent

Unfavorable – 46 percent

Neither – 4 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 0 percent

 

Kay Hagan

Favorable – 39 percent

Unfavorable – 48 percent

Neither – 7 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 6 percent

 

Thom Tillis

Favorable – 34 percent

Unfavorable – 47 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 10 percent

 

Chris Christie

Favorable – 33 percent

Unfavorable – 31 percent

Neither – 10 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 26 percent

 

Marco Rubio

Favorable – 25 percent

Unfavorable – 19 percent

Neither – 6 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 51 percent

 

Moral Monday Protesters

Favorable – 25 percent

Unfavorable – 25 percent

Neither – 6 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 44 percent

 

Rick Perry

Favorable – 24 percent

Unfavorable – 31 percent

Neither – 4 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 40 percent

 

Elizabeth Warren

Favorable – 24 percent

Unfavorable – 13 percent

Neither – 5 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 58 percent

 

Ben Carson

Favorable – 24 percent

Unfavorable – 8 percent

Neither – 4 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 64 percent

 

Ted Cruz

Favorable – 21 percent

Unfavorable – 25 percent

Neither – 4 percent

Don’t know/Never heard of/Refuse – 50 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 8 – 13, 2014, n = 421 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.8 percent)

 

Self-reported 2014 voters – Negativity of Tillis and Hagan campaigns

Do you feel that either Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis, or both ran a negative campaign?

Kay Hagan – 9 percent

Thom Tillis – 8 percent

Both – 73 percent

Don’t know/Refused – 10 percent

(Self-identified 2014 voters within all adult sample surveyed November 8 – 13, 2014, n = 276 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 5.9 percent)

 

The most recent survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Nov. 8 – 13, 2014. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 421 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.8 percentage points for these respondents. The data are weighted toward 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. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2014/11/34memoC.pdf.

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 online 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 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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