HPU and News & Record Poll: NC Residents Concerned about HB2 Impact, Support NC Senate Power to Approve Cabinet

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HIGH POINT, N.C., March 1, 2017 – The second High Point University and News and Record Poll of 2017 finds that most North Carolinians believe that hosting high profile sporting events brings important benefits to North Carolina’s economy and image. Majorities are concerned about the economic impact of HB2, yet the same North Carolina residents are split over whether local governments should be able to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances.  A majority of North Carolina residents approve of the North Carolina Senate exercising its constitutional power to approve Governor Cooper’s cabinet officials.           

Three out of five (60 percent) North Carolina residents say that the economic benefits of hosting special events such as the ACC and NCAA sports championships and the NBA All Star game are extremely important to the state. Just under half (49 percent) say that hosting such events are extremely important for North Carolina’s image, while 33 percent say they are somewhat important, and a total of 17 percent say they are not very or not at all important. 

A majority (53 percent) of North Carolinians also say that it is fair for the ACC, NCAA and the NBA to decide whether or not to hold special events in North Carolina in response to political actions by the state. 

When asked specifically about HB2, the law passed in March 2016 that requires people to use bathrooms that correspond to the gender recorded on their birth certificates, a majority (59 percent) of North Carolina residents say that the law is not necessary in protecting public safety and privacy in North Carolina. A similar proportion of likely voters (58 percent) said the same thing in a HPU/News and Record Poll conducted in September 2016.

North Carolinians continue to be split on whether, in the context of the controversy over HB2, cities should be allowed to adopt their own anti-discrimination ordinances. Forty-seven percent of North Carolina residents say that cities should be allowed to adopt their own anti-discrimination ordinances, while 46 percent say cities should not be allowed to pass such ordinances. This is very similar to responses from likely voters in September 2016, where 45 percent said cities should be able to adopt anti-discrimination ordinances and 46 percent did not think cities should be allowed to do it.  

North Carolinian attitudes are less divided outside of the HB2 controversy. An early February poll by HPU and the News and Record found that outside of the debate over HB2, 80 percent of North Carolinians thought that anti-discrimination policies should be set at the state rather than city level.

North Carolinians continue to see a relatively large economic impact from the cancelled investments of some corporations, business groups, entertainers and sports associations. More than three in five poll respondents (63 percent) say that HB2 has had a large economic impact, while 27 percent see a small economic impact and six percent see no economic impact at all. Similar proportions of likely voters said the same things in September 2016 when 61 percent saw a large economic impact, 28 percent saw a small economic impact, and 8 percent saw no impact.

When asked whether they prefer enforcing HB2 or ending its economic impact, almost two thirds (64 percent) of North Carolinians say they prefer to end the economic impact. Twenty-eight percent say they prefer enforcement of HB2. In the September 2016 poll of likely voters, 60 percent preferred ending HB2’s economic impact and 35 percent preferred its enforcement.

“North Carolinians have complex views on HB2, but in general are concerned about its economic impact on the state,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “The priorities of outside organizations, the rights of individuals, and roles of states and localities in making anti-discrimination policies are all key considerations as policymakers work toward a possible compromise over HB2.”

A majority of North Carolinians (54 percent) also say that the North Carolina Senate should play a role in confirming the governor’s nominees for lead cabinet agencies and departments, as is in the federal government. Twenty-nine percent of North Carolina residents say that the General Assembly should not play a role in confirming the governor’s cabinet, and 18 percent did not offer an opinion one way or another.

All adults – Economic benefits of sports event in NC (February 2017)

Now I am going to ask you a few questions about North Carolina hosting athletic events for organizations like the Atlantic Coast Conference which is known as the ACC, the National Collegiate Athletics Association which is known as the NCAA, and the National Basketball Association which is known as the NBA.

How important do you think the economic benefits of hosting special events such as ACC and NCAA sports championships and the NBA All Star game are to the state of North Carolina?  Would you say extremely important, somewhat important, not very important, or not important at all?

Extremely important – 60 percent

Somewhat important – 25 percent

Not very important – 5 percent

Not at all important – 7 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 3 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – Reputational benefits of sports event in NC (February 2017)

How important for North Carolina’s image is hosting special events such as ACC and NCAA championships and the NBA All Star game? Would you say extremely important, somewhat important, not very important, or not important at all?

Extremely important – 49 percent

Somewhat important – 33 percent

Not very important – 10 percent

Not at all important – 7 percent     

(Don’t know/Refused) – 3 percent       

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – Fairness of organizations reacting to NC politics (February 2017)

Do you think it is fair for organizations such as the ACC, NCAA, and NBA to decide whether to hold or remove special events from North Carolina in response to political actions by the state of North Carolina?

Fair – 53 percent

Not fair – 42 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – HB 2 and public safety and privacy (February 2017)

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 of last year.  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 – 37 percent

Not necessary – 59 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – Cities and anti-discrimination ordinances (February 2017)

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 – 47 percent

Cities should not be allowed – 46 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – Economic impact of HB 2 (February 2017)

Some corporations, business groups, entertainers, and sports associations have cancelled 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 – 63 percent

Small – 27 percent

No impact – 6 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 3 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – Enforcing HB2 or Ending Economic Impact (February 2017)

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 – 28 percent

Ending House Bill 2’s economic impact – 64 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 9 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

All adults – NC Senate confirmation of governor’s cabinet (February 2017)

Under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Senate is given the power to confirm presidential appointments, including the heads of major U.S. agencies and departments.  A similar power exists within the North Carolina Constitution but has not been used by the North Carolina General Assembly for some time. 

Do you think the North Carolina General Assembly should or should not play a role in confirming the governor’s nominees for lead cabinet agencies and departments as in the federal government?

Should – 54 percent

Should not – 29 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 18 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 18 – 23, 2017, n = 451 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.6 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 18-23, 2017. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 451 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.6 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, and party identification. 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/2017/03/51memoB.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, 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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