HPU Poll: Approval Ratings Remain Low

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 23, 2015 – A new High Point University Poll finds that job approval of public officials and legislatures remains relatively low among North Carolinians.

In the new survey, 41 percent of North Carolina residents approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance while 38 percent approve of Gov. Pat McCrory’s job performance.

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have job approval ratings of 26 and 29 percent. As the HPU Poll has previously observed, many North Carolinians don’t offer an opinion on the two senators. More than a third (34 percent) of North Carolina adults expressed no opinion one way or another on Sen. Burr’s job performance, and 32 percent of respondents said they did not know or refused to comment on first-term U.S. Sen. Tillis’ performance in office.

Of the individuals and groups included in the poll, the U.S. Congress fares the worst, earning approval of only 17 percent of North Carolina residents. The North Carolina General Assembly has a job approval rating of 30 percent among North Carolinians.

The poll also finds less than one quarter (22 percent) of the same respondents believe the country is headed in the right direction, versus more than two-thirds (71 percent) of North Carolina residents who see the country as being on the wrong track. This is very similar to what an early February HPU Poll found. That poll reported that 23 percent of North Carolinians believed the country was headed in the right direction, versus 65 percent of North Carolina residents who saw the country as being on the wrong track.

These observations are similar to those reported in the March and late February HPU Polls. In March, the presidential approval rating was 39 percent, and the governor’s rating was 44 percent. Burr and Tillis posted approval ratings of 30 and 31 percent, respectively, and 23 percent of North Carolinians said the country was headed in the right direction. When the poll asked about the U.S. Congress and North Carolina General Assembly in late February, their ratings were 17 percent approve and 34 percent approve.

“The first poll of the fall shows that North Carolinians’ views of their elected officials at the state and national level have not changed much since last spring,” says Brian McDonald, assistant director of the HPU Poll. “The poll also shows that there hasn’t been much movement in how North Carolinians feel about the direction the country is headed in, which has remained low since last February.”

All adults – Presidential Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Approve – 41 percent

Disapprove – 53 percent

Don’t know/refused – 6 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – Governor Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Pat McCrory is handling his job as governor?

Approve – 38 percent

Disapprove – 44 percent

Don’t know/refused – 19 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – Senator Burr Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Richard Burr is handling his job as United States Senator?

Approve – 26 percent

Disapprove – 40 percent

Don’t know/refused – 34 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – Senator Tillis Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Senator Tillis is handling his job as United States Senator?

Approve – 29 percent

Disapprove – 39 percent

Don’t know/refused – 32 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – Congressional Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that the U.S. Congress is handling its job?

Approve – 17 percent

Disapprove – 77 percent

Don’t know/refused – 6 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – N.C. General Assembly Job Approval (September 2015)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that the North Carolina General Assembly is handling its job?

Approve – 30 percent

Disapprove – 47 percent

Don’t know/refused – 23 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

All adults – Country Direction (September 2015)

Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

Right direction – 22 percent

Wrong track – 71 percent

Don’t know/refused – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 12 – 22, n = 402 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Sept. 12 – 22, 2015. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 402 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 4.9 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is 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/2015/09/40memoA.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.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://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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