HPU/N&R Poll: North Carolinians Weigh in on Controversial Issues

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 28, 2016 – The recent High Point University/News & Record Poll looked at how likely voters in North Carolina feel about several major issues in this year’s election, including the controversial House Bill 2, voter ID requirement, education and teacher pay.

The poll found that 58 percent of respondents believe House Bill 2 was not necessary to protect public safety and privacy, while 39 percent say that the law was necessary.

Likely voters are divided on whether or not cities in North Carolina should be allowed to adopt their own anti-discrimination ordinances, with 45 percent saying that cities should be allowed and 46 saying they should not.

These likely voters were particularly concerned about the economic impact of HB2. Sixty-one percent of the respondents say that economic impact on the state has been large, while 28 percent say the economic impact has been small and 8 percent saying there is no economic impact.

In terms of priorities, North Carolinians believe that ending HB2’s economic impact is more important than enforcing HB2. When asked which was more important to them personally, 35 percent of voters say that enforcing HB2 was more important, while 60 percent say that ending HB2’s economic impact was more important.

When it comes to voter ID laws, 67 percent of those polled say voters should be required to show an official photo identification before they are allowed to vote on Election Day, while 30 percent say voters should not have to.

When told that there would be no photo ID requirement in this election, these likely voters had mixed emotions about their confidence in honest election results. Forty-five percent of voters say they were less confident there will be honest election results due to the lack of an ID law, and 37 percent were neither more nor less confident. Meanwhile, 15 percent say that they were more confident in honest election results because there will be no ID requirement.

Regarding teacher pay, a large majority of likely voters—81 percent—say that public school teachers are paid too little. Ten percent of likely voters say that teachers are paid about the right amount and 1 percent say that they are paid too much.

A majority of these likely voters, 55 percent, say that education is moving in the wrong direction, while 30 percent say it was headed in the right direction.

“It is pretty clear that majorities of voters here in North Carolina are concerned about the economic impact of HB2 and are also supportive of a requirement that people show identification at the polls,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and associate professor of political science. “We’ll see if these are issues that voters use to make decisions in the elections or if they focus on other, different issues when casting their ballots.”

 

HPU N&R Poll - Photo ID - Sept. 2016Likely voters – Voter ID in N.C. (September 2016)

Do you think voters should or should not be required to show an official photo identification before they are allowed to vote on Election Day?

Should – 67 percent
Should not – 30 percent
Don’t know – 5 percent

 

There will be NO photo ID requirement to vote in this election. Does this make you less confident, more confident, or neither more nor less confident that there will be an honest election result this year?

Less confident there will be an honest election result – 45 percent
NEITHER more nor less confident there will be an honest election result – 37 percent
More confident there will be an honest election result – 15 percent
Don’t know – 2 percent
Refused – 1 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Sept. 17 and 22, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

HPU N&R Poll - HB2 - Sept. 2016Likely voters – HB2 in N.C. (September 2016)

Now I would like to ask you about a law generally referred to as House Bill 2 or HB2.

House Bill 2 was enacted in March. It includes a provision that requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the gender recorded on their birth certificates. Do you believe this law is necessary or NOT necessary to protect public safety and privacy in North Carolina?

Necessary – 39 percent
Not necessary – 58 percent
Don’t know – 2 percent
Refused – 1 percent

 

House Bill 2 also prohibits North Carolina cities from adopting local anti-discrimination ordinances.  Do you believe cities should be allowed to adopt their own anti-discrimination ordinances or should NOT be allowed to adopt such ordinances?

Cities should be allowed – 45 percent
Cities should NOT be allowed – 46 percent
Don’t know – 8 percent
Refused – 1 percent

 

Some corporations, business groups, entertainers, and sports associations have canceled events in North Carolina because of House Bill 2. Do you believe this has had a large economic impact, small impact, or no economic impact on North Carolina?

Large – 61 percent
Small – 28 percent
No impact – 8 percent
Don’t know – 3 percent

 

Which is more important to you personally, enforcing the law called House Bill 2 or ending any economic impact it may be having on North Carolina?

Enforcing House Bill 2 – 35 percent
Ending House Bill 2’s economic impact – 60 percent
Don’t know – 5 percent
Refused – 1 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Sept. 17 and 22, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

HPU N&R Poll - Teacher pay - Sept. 2016Likely voters – North Carolina Education and Teacher Pay (September 2016)

Generally speaking, would you say that North Carolina public school teachers are paid too little, about the right amount, or too much?

Too little – 81 percent
About the right amount – 10 percent
Too much – 1 percent
Don’t know – 7 percent
Refused – less than 1 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Sept. 17 and 22, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

HPU N&R Poll - Public Education in NC - Sept. 2016Overall, in which direction would you say that public education in North Carolina is headed?  Would you say the right direction or wrong direction?

Right direction – 30 percent
Wrong direction – 55 percent
Don’t know – 14 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Sept. 17 and 22, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

The High Point University Survey Research Center interviewed 404 state of North Carolina likely voters Sept. 17 through Sept. 22, 2016, using Registration Based Sample (aka Voter List Sample) purchased from Survey Sampling International through Aristotle in Washington, D.C. To be included in the sample, a voter needed to have a propensity score of more than 30 on a scale of 0 to 100 based on their voting history in presidential and midterm elections and demographics. In order to confirm voters’ likelihood of voting, they were asked an additional screening question: “On November 8, North Carolina will hold its election for President, U.S. Senate, Governor, U.S. House of Representatives, and other offices. How certain are you that you will vote in this election? Are you almost certain to vote, you probably will vote, your chances of voting are 50/50, or you will not vote in the November 2016 general election?”  Only respondents who indicated they were “almost certain” to vote or “probably” would vote were considered to be likely voters. Of the 419 registered voters interviewed, 404 were determined to be likely to vote in the Nov. 8, 2016 general election. This research was conducted 100 percent by telephone. Respondents on both cell phones (273 interviews) and landlines (131 interviews) were contacted by live operators at the Survey Research Center, who hand-dialed the telephone and completed the interview. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2016/09/47memoB.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.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, associate 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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