HPU/N&R Poll: Public Says Leadership of UNC Is Important, But Is Not Showing Great Interest

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 17, 2015 – The High Point University/News and Record Poll finds that a large majority of North Carolinians say that it is important who leads the University of North Carolina system, but they are divided in their overall interest in the issue. Forty-one percent of North Carolinians believe that it is very important to the state of North Carolina who leads the University of North Carolina system, and 36 percent believe that it is somewhat important. When it comes to whether or not North Carolinians are interested in who leads the UNC system, North Carolinians are split down the middle. Forty-eight percent of North Carolinians are either very interested or somewhat interested in who leads the UNC system, and 48 percent of North Carolinians are not very interested or not at all interested.

When asked if North Carolinians were favorable or unfavorable of the current UNC president Tom Ross, 39 percent said they were very favorable or somewhat favorable and 14 percent were somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable. When it came to their view of the incoming UNC president Margaret Spellings 29 percent were somewhat favorable or very favorable and 17 percent were somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable.

In terms of public policy, when asked if North Carolinians supported or opposed creating a process in North Carolina for the public to propose state laws or constitutional amendments an overwhelming majority (70 percent) said they would support that.

“It is clear that some in North Carolina have been carefully watching the recent choice of Margaret Spellings as the new UNC system president, and a lot North Carolinians appear to be in agreement about how important the job is to the future of higher education in the state,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “But the recent poll did not find that people are very familiar with Tom Ross or his successor nor did it find that the public has a particularly negative view of either.”

All adults – University of North Carolina Leader (November 2015)

How interested are you in who leads the University of North Carolina system? HPU N&R Poll - interest in who leads UNC - Nov. 2015

Very interested – 16 percent

Somewhat interested – 32 percent

Not very interested – 24 percent

Not at all interested – 24 percent

Don’t know/refused – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 7 – 12, n = 610 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

All adults – University of North Carolina Leader Importance (November 2015)

How important do you think it is to the state of North Carolina who leads the University of North Carolina system?HPU N&R Poll - importance of who leads UNC - Nov. 2015

Very important – 41 percent

Somewhat important – 36 percent

Not very important – 10 percent

Not at all important – 9 percent

Don’t know/refused – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 7 – 12, n = 610 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

All adults – University of North Carolina Current President (November 2015)

How favorable or unfavorable is your view of current UNC President Tom Ross?

Very favorable – 5 percent

Somewhat favorable – 34 percent

Somewhat unfavorable – 10 percent

Very unfavorable – 4 percent

Don’t know/refused – 47 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 7 – 12, n = 610 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

All adults – University of North Carolina Incoming President (November 2015)

How favorable or unfavorable is your view of incoming UNC President Margaret Spellings?

Very favorable – 4 percent

Somewhat favorable – 25 percent

Somewhat unfavorable – 11 percent

Very unfavorable – 6 percent

Don’t know/refused – 54 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 7 – 12, n = 610 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 percent)

All adults – State Laws and Constitutional Amendments (November 2015)

Would you support or oppose creating a process in North Carolina for the public to propose state laws or constitutional amendments, sometimes known as HPU N&R Poll - state laws & constitutional amendments - Nov. 2015initiatives and referendums?

Support – 70 percent

Oppose – 17 percent

Don’t know/refused – 13 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed November 7 – 12, n = 610 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4 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 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. 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/2015/11/42memoA.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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