HPU Poll: In Presidential Candidates, NC Voters Prefer New Ideas to Experience

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 17, 2015 – A new High Point University Poll finds that North Carolina registered voters would prefer a candidate with new ideas and a different approach in the White House more than someone with experience and a proven record.

Overall, those surveyed were divided on which party they would choose for president in 2016, as 40 percent said they would vote for the Republican candidate’s party and 37 percent said they would vote for the Democratic candidate’s party. When asked a similar question about their preferences for U.S. Congress, 41 percent said they would vote for a Democratic candidate in their district, while 36 percent would choose a Republican.

But 51 percent said they’d pick a candidate who had new ideas and a different approach compared to 35 percent who said they’d pick a candidate with experience. Eleven percent said new ideas and experience are both important.

When it comes to the candidates’ backgrounds, more registered voters said they’d be more likely to vote for someone who had previous experience as a business or corporate leader (49 percent) or teacher (46 percent), compared to a nonprofit leader (37 percent), lawyer (30 percent), medical doctor (30 percent), or politician (30 percent).

Nearly half – 48 percent – said they had given a lot of thought to candidates who may be running for president in 2016, while 35 percent said they had given the candidates some thought, and 14 percent said had not given the candidates much thought.

“We are still approximately one year away from the general election and four months from the primary election here in North Carolina, but many registered voters are already thinking about their choices in the presidential elections,” says Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “The generic ballot tests between Democratic and Republican candidates are pretty tight, and many of these registered voters appear at the moment to prefer new ideas to experience and candidates with job experience outside of politics and the law.”

Registered Voters – Presidential Generic Ballot

If the election for U.S. President were being held TODAY, would you vote for the Republican Party’s candidate OR the Democratic Party’s candidate for President?

Republican Party’s candidate – 40 percent  HPU Poll - Presidential Generic Ballot - Nov. 2015

Democratic Party’s candidate – 37 percent

Other – 5 percent

Don’t know/refused – 18 percent

(Registered voter sample surveyed November 7 – 12, 2015, n = 508 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

Registered Voters – Congressional Generic Ballot

If the elections for U.S. Congress were being held TODAY, would you vote for the Republican Party’s candidate OR the Democratic Party’s candidate for Congress in your district?

Republican Party’s candidate – 36 percentHPU Poll - Congressional Generic Ballot - Nov. 2015

Democratic Party’s candidate – 41 percent

Other – 5 percent

Don’t know/refused – 18 percent

(Registered voter sample surveyed November 7 – 12, 2015, n = 508 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

Registered Voters – Considered Presidential Candidates

How much thought, if any, have you given to candidates who may be running for president in 2016? A lot, some, not much, or none at all?

A lot – 48 percent

Some – 35 percent

Not much – 14 percent

None at all – 4 percent

Don’t know/refused – less than 1 percent

(Registered voter sample surveyed November 7 – 12, 2015, n = 508 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

Registered Voters – More Important for Candidates: Experience or New Ideas

Which of the following is more important to you in a presidential candidate: experience and a proven record or new ideas and a different approach?

Experience and a proven record – 35 percentHPU Poll - Important Qualities for Presidential Candidates - Nov. 2015

New ideas and a different approach – 51 percent

Both – 11 percent

Don’t know/refused – 3 percent

(Registered voter sample surveyed November 7 – 12, 2015, n = 508 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

Registered Voters – Jobs Held by Presidential Candidates

Now thinking specifically about what kinds of jobs presidential candidates might have had in the past, would you be more likely or less likely to support a candidate for president who had had each of these kinds of jobs or would it not matter to you?

 

More likely Less likely Wouldn’t matter (Don’t know/refused)
Medical doctor (n=507) 30 25 41 4
Lawyer (n=506) 30 31 36 4
Businessperson/corporate leader (n=505) 49 18 29 4
Teacher (n=506) 46 15 36 4
Politician (n=506) 30 32 33 6
Nonprofit leader (n=505) 37 24 34 5

 

(Registered voter sample surveyed November 7 – 12, 2015, n = 508 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Nov. 7 – 12, 2015. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 610 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The registered voter subsample relied on responses from the participants about their own registration status and yielded a total of 508 respondents. 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 all adult respondents and an approximate margin of sampling error of 4.3 percent for the self-described registered voters. 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/2015/11/42memoB.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.

To view video of the HPU Survey Research Center, click here.

 

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