HPU/N&R Poll: North Carolinians Favor Death Penalty and Prefer Sales to Income Taxes

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 7, 2015 – The High Point University/News and Record Poll finds that an overwhelming large majority of North Carolinians (72 percent) believe that there are crimes where the death penalty is appropriate, and 24 percent believe the death penalty should not be used at all. Sixty-three percent of North Carolinians favor the death penalty for a person convicted of murder and 28 percent oppose. When North Carolinians were asked which method of the death penalty was the most humane, 64 percent said lethal injection.

In terms of taxes, when asked if the amount North Carolinians will pay in income and sales taxes this year is fair or unfair, a majority (56 percent) felt the sales tax amount was fair, but a similar majority of 52 percent felt the amount of income tax they would pay is unfair. Forty-eight percent believe that the state of North Carolina should receive more of its revenue from sales taxes and 27 percent felt they should receive more from income taxes.

Fifty-five percent of North Carolinians approved of legislation the North Carolina General Assembly recently passed that would increase the proportion of revenue the state receives from sales taxes and decrease the proportion of revenue the state receives from income taxes.

“It is clear from these findings that people in North Carolina believe that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment for at least some crimes, and lethal injection is seen as the most humane means by many more people than any other single method,” says Martin Kifer, HPU Poll director and assistant professor of political science. “There does not appear to be much support for changes in policy governing capital punishment here in North Carolina.”

“On the issue of taxes, people appear to view current levels of sales tax as fairer than the income tax they pay,” says Brian McDonald, assistant director of the HPU poll. “Unless those perceptions change, North Carolinians may continue to be more receptive to proposals that would shift the balance of how the state takes in revenue away from income taxes.”

All adults – Death Penalty (September/October 2015)

Thinking in general about your views of the death penalty, are there any crimes for which you believe people should receive the death penalty?

Yes – 72 percentHPU N&R Poll - Death penalty - Oct. 2015

No – 24 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Death Penalty for Murder Conviction (September/October 2015)

Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose or strongly oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

Strongly favor – 30 percent

Favor – 33 percent

Oppose – 17 percent

Strongly Oppose – 11 percent

Don’t know/refused – 9 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Most Human Death Penalty Punishment (September/October 2015)

Apart from your opinion about the death penalty, what form of punishment do you consider to be the most humane – the electric chair, the gas chamber, lethal injection, firing squad or hanging?

Electric chair – 2 percent

Gas chamber – 4 percent

Firing squad – 9 percent

Hanging – 6 percent

Lethal injection – 64 percent

None – 7 percent

No opinion/don’t know – 7 percent

Refused – 2 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Income Tax (September/October 2015) HPU N&R Poll - income tax - Oct. 2015

Do you regard the amount of income tax you will pay this year as fair or unfair?

Fair – 39 percent

Unfair – 52 percent

Don’t know/refused – 8 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Sales Tax (September/October 2015)

Do you regard the amount of sales tax you will pay this year as fair or unfair?HPU N&R Poll - sales tax - Oct. 2015

Fair – 56 percent

Unfair – 40 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Revenue from Sales and Income Taxes (September/October 2015)

Do you think that the state of North Carolina should receive more of its revenue from sales taxes or income taxes

Sales taxes – 48 percent

Income taxes – 27 percent

Neither – 8 percent

Equal amounts of both – 8 percent

Don’t know – 9 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

All adults – Revenue from Sales and Income Taxes (September/October 2015)

The North Carolina General Assembly has recently passed legislation that would increase the proportion of revenue the state receives from sales taxes and decrease the proportion of revenue the state receives from income taxes. Do you approve or disapprove of this change in tax policy?

Approve – 55 percent

Disapprove – 34 percent

Don’t know/refused – 11 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed September 26 – October 1, n = 446 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Sept. 26 – Oct. 1, 2015. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 446 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 4.6 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/2015/10/41memoB.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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