HPU Poll: NC Likely Voters Confident in Their Roles, Cynical About Politics Overall

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hpu-poll-federal-govt-sentiment-oct-2016HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 11, 2016 –
The new HPU Poll reports that large majorities of likely North Carolina voters agree that they are well-qualified to participate in elections (96 percent) and that they could figure out the facts about most political issues (82 percent). At the same time, majorities of these likely voters say they are frustrated—though not angry—with the federal government (54 percent), and they do not have very much trust or confidence in the wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions (54 percent).

The HPU Poll asked likely voters several questions and also asked them to agree or disagree with a series of statements about politics. Respondents tended to have confidence in their ability to participate in politics effectively, but viewed most other people, including politicians, cynically. A large majority of these likely voters agreed that they hpu-poll-trust-in-american-peoples-decisions-oct-2016
feel confident that they could find the truth about political issues (68 percent) and disagreed with a statement about not feeling sure of themselves when talking to other people about politics and government (69 percent).

Large majorities also agreed with the statements that most citizens have lost faith in the political campaign process (84 percent) and few honest people run for political office (61 percent). Likely voters also expressed a lack of confidence in themselves when it comes to serving as an elected official. Only a total of 32 percent of these likely voters saw themselves as qualified or very qualified to do the job of an elected official.

In an election year with multiple female candidates very high on the ballot, 86 percent of these likely voters said that women and men make equally good political leaders. Only 7 percent said men
hpu-poll-overall-feelings-on-politics-combined-oct-2016generally make better political leaders and 5 percent said women make better political leaders.

“This election season, there has been a lot of talk about negativity, both from the candidates and from the voters,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, associate professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “This poll shows that while likely voters have confidence about being able to participate effectively in the election, they do not have as much faith in everyone else. It may just be this election cycle, but it also may not bode well for the presidential term starting in 2017.”

 

Likely voters – Trust and confidence in American people’s decisions

In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions? A very great deal, a good deal, not very much, or none at all?

A very great deal – 6 percent
A good deal – 27 percent
Not very much – 54 percent
None at all – 11 percent
(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Oct. 1 and 6, n = 479 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Likely voters – Feelings toward the federal government

Some people say they are basically content with the federal government, others say they are frustrated, and others say they are angry. Which of these best describes how you feel?

Basically content – 18 percent
Frustrated – 54 percent
Angry – 25 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 3 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Oct. 1 and 6, n = 479 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Likely voters – Qualifications to be an elected official

Overall, how qualified do you feel to do the job of an elected official? Would you say: not at all qualified, somewhat qualified, qualified, or very qualified?

Not at all qualified – 32 percent
Somewhat qualified – 34 percent
Qualified – 19 percent
Very qualified – 13 percent
(Don’t know) – 2 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Oct. 1 and 6, n = 479 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Likely voters – Women or men as better political leaders

Which one of the following statements comes closest to your opinion about men and women as political leaders?

Men generally make better political leaders than women – 7 percent
Women generally make better political leaders than men – 5 percent
In general, women and men make equally good political leaders – 86 percent
(Don’t know) – 2 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Oct. 1 and 6, n = 479 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

Below is a series of statements about politics and the media. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each statement:

I feel confident that I can find the truth about political issues

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 68 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 26 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 6 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 1 percent

 

I consider myself well-qualified to participate in elections

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 96 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 3 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 1 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 1 percent

 

If I wanted to, I could figure out the facts about most political issues

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 82 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 13 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 4 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 1 percent

 

I often don’t feel sure of myself talking with other people about politics and government

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 22 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 69 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 7 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 3 percent

 

There’s no way to tell if a candidate is telling the truth

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 52 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 41 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 6 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 1 percent

 

Most citizens have lost faith in the political campaign process

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 84 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 10 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 5 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 1 percent

 

Nowadays, few honest people run for political office

Strongly agree/somewhat agree – 61 percent
Strongly disagree/somewhat disagree – 28 percent
Neither agree or disagree – 9 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 2 percent

(North Carolina likely voter sample surveyed between Oct. 1 and 6, n = 479 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.5 percent)

 

The High Point University Survey Research Center interviewed 479 state of North Carolina likely voters Oct. 1 through Oct. 6, 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. Only the 479 respondents interviewed 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 (348 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/2016/10/48memoA.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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