HPU/News and Record Poll: NC Majorities See Climate Impact and Support Mandatory Flood Insurance for Coastal Property Owners

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HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 10, 2017  In light of recent major storms that impacted the Southeast, the Gulf Coast and other areas, the High Point University/News and Record Poll asked North Carolinians a series of questions regarding their beliefs on climate change. The results show that majorities of North Carolinians believe that climate change has had a major impact on the frequency and strength of these storms, as well as a rise in sea-level. Small majorities also say that coastal areas have too much development, and property owners in at-risk areas should be required by law to buy flood insurance.

Relatively large majorities of North Carolina residents say that climate change has had an impact on the frequency and strength of tropical storms and hurricanes (57 percent) and that climate change is contributing to a rise in sea-level (60 percent).

Although a very large majority (73 percent) of these North Carolinians say that property owners in these at-risk coastal areas should be required to purchase flood insurance, 40 percent of those surveyed say that the federal government should be most responsible for providing disaster relief and recovery funds. Only 15 percent say property owners should be most responsible, and 13 percent say states should bear most of the responsibility.

More than half (54 percent) of the respondents say that there is too much development in the coastal areas while another third (33 percent) say the level of development is not a problem.

Finally, when given the choice of a vacation home at the beach, mountains, or on an inland lake, 36 percent preferred a house in the mountains, compared to 34 percent who chose a home at the beach and 22 percent who would like a retreat on an inland lake.  

“With a very active hurricane season coming to an end, we find that many North Carolinians do see a link between a changing climate and the well-being of coastal areas,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor of survey research methods. “And many people support the federal government taking the lead in recovery efforts even if they are somewhat concerned about coastal development and want property owners to take precautions.”


All adults – Climate Impact on Storms
(October 2017)

Now we would like to ask you some questions about climate change.

Do you believe climate change has had an impact on the frequency and strength of tropical storms and hurricanes or has it not had this effect?

Has had an impact – 57 percent

Has not had an impact – 34 percent

Don’t know/refused – 10 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Climate Impact on Sea Level (October 2017)

Do you believe that climate change is contributing to a rise in sea-level or not?

Yes – 60 percent

No – 27 percent

Don’t know/refused – 13 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Development in Coastal Areas (October 2017)

Would you say that there is too much development in coastal areas where tropical storms and hurricanes are most likely to strike or is the amount of development not really a problem?

Too much development – 54 percent

Not really a problem – 33 percent

Don’t know/refused – 13 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Required Flood Insurance (October 2017)

Should property owners in coastal areas that are subject to tropical storms, hurricanes, and flooding be required to purchase flood insurance?

Yes – 73 percent

No – 19 percent

Don’t know/refused – 8 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Responsibility for Recovery Funds (October 2017)

Who should be most responsible for providing disaster relief and recovery funds for areas hit by tropical storms, hurricanes, and flooding?  Would you say the federal government, state governments, local governments, private charities, or the property owners themselves be most responsible for providing these funds?

Federal government – 40 percent

All equally – 25 percent

Property owners – 15 percent

State government – 13 percent

Local government – 2 percent

None of these – 1 percent

Private charities – less than 1 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

All adults – Location of Preferred Vacation Home (October 2017)

If you had to choose just one, would you prefer to own a vacation home at the beach, in the mountains, or on an inland lake?

Beach – 34 percent

Mountains – 36 percent

Inland lake – 22 percent

None of these – 2 percent

Don’t know/refused – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Sept. 28 – Oct. 6, 2017, n = 404 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.9 percent)

 

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on September 28 through October 6, 2017. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 404 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.9 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, education, 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/2017/10/53memoB.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, department chair and 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 and an adjunct professor of survey research methods.

 

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