HPU/N&R Poll: Majority of North Carolinians Say More Security Would Keep Schools Safe

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 10, 2018 – A High Point University/News and Record Poll finds that 4 out of 5 North Carolinians say fortifying schools with more barriers and security measures (79 percent) and hiring more resource officers (84 percent) will be very effective or somewhat effective in stopping school shootings.

The same poll finds that a little more than half (55 percent) say that passing new laws to restrict the sales of guns will be very effective or somewhat effective in stopping school shootings. In addition, 45 percent think that arming teachers would be a very effective or somewhat effective deterrent.

North Carolinians say they are receiving a good deal of information about gun violence at schools. Two-thirds (66 percent) of those polled say they have heard a lot about recent shootings at American schools. One-third (33 percent) of North Carolina residents say they have heard a little or nothing at all.

The poll also finds relatively high levels of concern about school shootings compared to other risks to children. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of North Carolinians say they are much more concerned or somewhat more concerned about shootings in schools compared to other risks to children today. Ten percent of North Carolinians are somewhat less concerned, much less concerned or offered no response. Nineteen percent of those polled are just as concerned about school shootings as about other risks to children today.

More than two out of five (44 percent) North Carolinians say they have guns in their homes. This is comparable to the findings of the HPU Poll over the past several years. About 1 in 5 of those same respondents say that they have purchased a gun in the past two years (18 percent). A similar percentage says they have conceal/carry permits for guns (21 percent). Finally, more than a quarter (30 percent) of poll participants say they’ve taken a class to learn how to shoot a gun.

“School shootings receive a lot of media coverage, and the findings of this study show that North Carolinians are paying attention and very concerned about these risks to children,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll. “We find relatively high levels of support for some possible actions schools could take, but the policy question is whether with numerous possible priorities for schools, the state and counties will focus on these approaches.”

All adults – School Safety (October 2018)

Now I would like to ask about something different that involves school safety. How much have you heard about recent shootings at American schools? Would you say you have heard a lot, a little bit, or not much at all?

A lot – 66 percent

A little – 25 percent

Not much at all – 8 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

Compared to other risks to children today, how concerned are you about shootings in schools? Would you say much more concerned, somewhat more concerned, as concerned as about other risks, somewhat less concerned or much less concerned?

Much more concerned – 47 percent

Somewhat more concerned – 25 percent

As concerned as about other risks – 19 percent

Somewhat less concerned – 5 percent

Much less concerned – 3 percent

Don’t know – 2 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

For each of the following proposed actions, please let me know whether you think they would be very effective, somewhat effective, not very effective or not at all effective in stopping school shootings. 

  Very effective Somewhat effective Not very effective Not at all effective  

(Don’t know/ Refuse)

Fortifying schools with more barriers and security measures 41 percent 38 percent 11 percent 6 percent 3 percent
Hiring more police officers—what people call resource officers—for schools 40 percent 44 percent 9 percent 5 percent 3 percent
Passing new laws to restrict sales of guns 31 percent 24 percent 15 percent 26 percent 4 percent
Arming teachers 21 percent 24 percent 19 percent 29 percent 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

All adults – Gun Ownership (October 2018)

Now I would like to ask you a few questions about guns. Do you have a gun in your home?

Yes – 44 percent

No – 55 percent

Refuse – 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

Have you purchased a gun in the past two years?

Yes – 18 percent

No – 82 percent

Refuse – 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

Do you have a conceal/carry permit for guns?

Yes – 21 percent

No – 79 percent

Refuse – less than 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

Have you taken any classes to learn to shoot guns?

Yes – 30 percent

No – 70 percent

Refuse – less than 1 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018, n = 921 and credibility interval of +/- 4.2 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Sept. 28-Oct. 7, 2018 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 921 adults interviewed online (603 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (318 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points to account for a traditional 95 percent confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.2 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.3 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race, and education level based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. 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/2018/10/61memoB.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, 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.

Share Button

Related Posts