HPU/N&R Poll: NC Likely Voters Oppose Tolls and Increased Motor Fuel Taxes

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 10, 2016 – The High Point University and News and Record Poll finds that most Democratic and Republican likely primary voters collectively oppose new tolls and other taxes based on their transportation choices, but Democrats are more supportive of increasing state spending to support mass transit systems.

Fifty-four percent of likely Democratic voters and 61 percent of likely Republican voters oppose tolls paid by drivers, according to the new poll. An overwhelming majority (78 percent) of likely Democratic primary voters support more state spending on mass transit systems, including commuter rail service, to reduce traffic on highways in North Carolina. On the Republican side, almost half (49 percent) of likely primary voters support more state spending on mass transit systems.

When it comes to additional motor fuel taxes, 79 percent of likely Republican primary voters oppose additional fuel taxes, and 57 percent of likely Democratic primary voters oppose additional fuel taxes. When asked about taxes regarding transportation, only 10 percent of likely Republican primary voters support a tax on the number of miles people drive, and 14 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support this as well.

Likely Democratic primary voters (65 percent) and likely Republican primary voters (64 percent) appear to agree on one thing – they do not believe that self-driving cars will be common on North Carolina highways within 10 years.

“As the data suggests, many North Carolina likely voters support more state spending on mass transit systems, but our study shows that support has a stark, partisan dimension,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct professor. “One thing that is not clear from these findings is where that money will come from. Likely voters from both parties are not supportive of the proposals to pay for new highways presented in this poll.”

Likely Voters – Transportation in N.C. (February 2016)

Please tell me if you support or oppose each of these proposals to pay for new highways and additional lanes of traffic. (Note: Presentation order of the proposals was randomized)

HPU N&R Poll - Toll roads - Rep vs Dem

Tolls paid by drivers

Likely Democratic Primary Voters

Support – 41 percent

Oppose – 54 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 5 percent

(Likely Democratic primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 478 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

Likely Republican Primary Voters

Support – 34 percent

Oppose – 61 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 5 percent

(Likely Republican primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 477 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

A tax on the number of miles people drive

Likely Democratic Primary Voters

Support – 14 percent

Oppose – 81 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 5 percent

(Likely Democratic primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 478 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

Likely Republican Primary Voters

Support – 10 percent

Oppose – 88 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 2 percent

(Likely Republican primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 477 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Additional motor fuel taxes

Likely Democratic Primary Voters

Support – 37 percent

Oppose – 57 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 6 percent

(Likely Democratic primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 478 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

Likely Republican Primary Voters

Support – 17 percent

Oppose – 79 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 4 percent

(Likely Republican primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 477 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

HPU N&R Poll - more spending on mass transit systems - Rep vs Dem

Do you support or oppose more state spending on mass transit systems, including commuter rail service, to reduce traffic on highways?

Likely Democratic Primary Voters

Support – 78 percent

Oppose – 15 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 7 percent

(Likely Democratic primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 478 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

Likely Republican Primary Voters

Support – 49 percent

Oppose – 44 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 7 percent

(Likely Republican primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 478 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

HPU N&R Poll - self-driving cars - Rep vs Dem

Do you believe self-driving cars will be common on North Carolina highways within 10 years?

Likely Democratic Primary Voters

Yes – 28 percent

No – 65 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 7 percent

(Likely Democratic primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 477 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

Likely Republican Primary Voters

Yes – 30 percent

No – 64 percent

(Don’t know/refused) 6 percent

(Likely Republican primary voters (North Carolina) sample surveyed January 30 – February 4, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center (SRC) calling on Jan. 30 – Feb. 4, 2016. SRC Interviewers completed interviews with 478 likely Democratic primary voters and 477 likely Republican primary voters on cell phones and landlines. The SRC identified respondents using a Registration Based Sample (RBS) where all respondents passed a screen gauging likelihood of voting in March 2016 were selected from a database of registered voters such that respondents who had registered prior to 2008 had voted in the 2008 and 2012 presidential primaries as well as the 2014 general election; respondents registered between 2008 and 2012 had voted in the 2012 presidential primary and 2014 general election; respondents who had registered between 2012 and 2014 voted in the 2014 primary or the 2014 general election; and the remainder of the sample had registered between 2014 and 2016. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. Each sample of likely voters has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.5 percentage points. The data is weighted toward population estimates for 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/2016/02/43memoB.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 associate director of the HPU Poll.

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