HPU Poll: North Carolinians See Education as the State’s Most Important Problem

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They also support the Connect NC Bond and Want the U.S. to be More Involved in Dangerous World

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 2, 2016 – The newest High Point University Poll finds that more North Carolinians identify the economy as the most important problem facing the U.S. and education as the most important problem facing their state.

A large majority of state residents support the $2 billion Connect North Carolina Bond – which will be decided on the North Carolina primary election ballot and includes significant resources for higher education. In addition to this concern about domestic policy, state residents continue to see the outside world as dangerous and see fighting the extremist group ISIS as an important part of the U.S.’s role.

More North Carolinians who responded to the HPU Poll indicated that education was the most important problem at the state level (35 percent) and that the economy (22 percent) was the most important problem at the national level. Other top state issues included the economy (13 percent), health care (10 percent) and government ineffectiveness (10 percent). At the national level, other concerns were government ineffectiveness (18 percent), national security (15 percent) and education (15 percent).

When it came to funding some of the state’s priorities, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of North Carolinians said they supported the Connect North Carolina Bond proposal, which will ask primary voters on March 15 to decide whether the state should issue bonds to fund a number of statewide projects.

The poll also asked North Carolinians about the proper U.S. role in the world, and found that 60 percent of state residents believe that the U.S. should take an active part in world affairs rather than staying out. Respondents did, however, indicate that the U.S. should be selective in its involvement. Only about a third (33 percent) of respondents thought that the U.S. should increase military involvement in the violence between the Syrian government and anti-government militants (that include ISIS), but more than two-thirds (68 percent) said that they supported the U.S. specifically doing something to stop the advance of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

“North Carolinians continue to identify a number of serious problems in N.C., the U.S. and abroad,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “Our overall findings from this poll suggest mixed feelings about the direction of the country, education, the economy and national security. We also see that people are interested in the U.S. being active in addressing this range of problems – even if they do not always agree on the solutions. We see this in opinions about the U.S. role in the world as well as the right state government role in paying for perceived needs.”

 

All adults – Most Important Problem in U.S.

Now I am going to read a list of possible problems facing this country today. Please wait for me to read the entire list, then tell me which ONE of these problems is the MOST important facing the country today. (Note: The order in which the responses were presented was randomized)

National security – 15 percent
The budget deficit – 10 percent
Health care – 12 percent
Education – 15 percent
Immigration – 6 percent
The economy – 22 percent
Government ineffectiveness – 18 percent

(Don’t know/Refuse) – 3 percent

 

All adults – Most Important Problem in N.C.

Now I am going to read a list of possible problems facing the state of North Carolina today. Please wait for me to read the entire list, then tell me which ONE of these problems is the MOST important facing the state of North Carolina today. (Note: The order in which the responses were presented was randomized)

Transportation and infrastructure – 6 percent
The size of the state budget – 6 percent
Taxes – 8 percent
Health care – 10 percent
Education – 35 percent
Immigration – 4 percent
The economy – 13 percent
Government ineffectiveness – 10 percent
Policing/law enforcement – 5 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 4 percent

 

All adults – $2 Billion Connect NC BondHPU Poll - NC Public Improvement Bond - Feb. 2016

(Note:  This survey was fielded with an all adults sample to gauge overall support for the bond.  The memo for this study includes figures for registered voters, but not likely primary voters who will decide whether this measure passes.)

For the primary election this year in North Carolina, there will be a referendum in which voters can vote for or against the state issuing what is called the “Connect North Carolina Public Improvement Bond.” I am going to read the entire text of the language on the referendum. Please let me know if you support or oppose this proposal. Please listen to the entire paragraph since this is the language that will appear on primary ballots:

“The issuance of two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) State of North Carolina Public Improvement Bonds constituting general obligation bonds of the State secured by a pledge of the faith and credit and taxing power of the State for the purpose of providing funds, with any other available funds, to fund capital improvements and new facilities for the State, including, without limitation, the construction and furnishing of new facilities and the renovation and rehabilitation of existing facilities for, without limitation, the University of North Carolina System, the North Carolina Community College System, water and sewer systems, the State’s National Guard, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, attractions and parks, and the Department of Public Safety.”

Support – 69 percent
Oppose – 20 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 12 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – U.S. role in the worldHPU Poll - Foreign Affairs - Feb. 2016

Do you think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs, or if we stay out of world affairs?

Active part – 60 percent
Stay out – 34 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – World safer or more dangerous for U.S.

Thinking about current U.S. relations with the rest of the world, would you say that the world is becoming safer or more dangerous for the U.S. and the American people?

Safer – 10 percent
More dangerous – 85 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – Heard about violence in Syria

How much, if anything, have you read or heard about recent political violence in Syria? Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

A lot – 56 percent
A little – 38 percent
Nothing at all – 5 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – Less than 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – U.S. responsibility in Syria

Do you think the United States has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups, or doesn’t the United States have this responsibility?

Yes – 39 percent
No – 53 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 8 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – U.S. military role in Syria

Overall, based on what you know, should the United States increase or decrease its military involvement in the conflict in Syria?

Increase – 33 percent
Decrease – 48 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 18 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – Heard about ISIS/ISIL

How much have you heard about the group that calls itself the Islamic State and operates in both Syria and Iraq? It is sometimes referred to as ISIS or ISIL. Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

A lot – 78 percent
A little – 19 percent
Nothing at all – 2 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, n = 476 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

All adults – U.S. take more action against ISIS/ISIL

Do you think the U.S. government should be doing more to stop the Islamic State or ISIS from advancing in Syria and Iraq?

Yes – 68 percent
No – 21 percent
(Don’t know/Refuse) – 11 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed February 18 – 25, 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 calling on Feb. 18 – 25, 2016. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 476 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 4.5 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/2016/03/44memoCO.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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