HPU/N&R Poll: Majority of North Carolinians Say People Are More Divided Than Usual

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 6, 2018 – A High Point University/News and Record Poll finds that 68 percent of North Carolinians say that people in the U.S. are more divided than usual, and only eight percent think that people in the U.S. are more united. Nineteen percent said that people in the U.S. are not much different than usual.

When asked about how they feel about other people, 77 percent of poll respondents said that they strongly agree or somewhat agree that “most people have little patience for people who disagree with them.” Large majorities also strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statements, “No matter how much you argue with most people, they won’t change their minds,” and, “I am more tolerant of people with different views than I used to be,” with 74 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

The poll found that majorities of North Carolinians strongly disagreed or somewhat disagreed with the statements, “I disagree more with my friends than I used to,” (65 percent), and, “Most people do not respect my point of view,” (58 percent), and, “Most people can be trusted” (50 percent).

The poll also asked about possible negative things that could result from political disagreements. About one-third (34 percent) said that they had unfriended or ended a connection with someone on social media because of such a disagreement. One-quarter (25 percent) said that they personally ended a discussion with someone they had just met, 23 percent got angry at a political bumper sticker and about 1 in 5 (21 percent) said that they personally ended a friendship with someone.

Political disagreements did not appear to cause many of poll respondents to change their place of worship (7 percent), move their residence (10 percent), discontinue going to a shop or restaurant because of a political sign (15 percent) or stop talking to a close family member (16 percent).

When asked how much they have heard about the recent packages with pipe bombs, 86 percent say they’ve heard a lot or a little bit. Eighty-five percent of people said they’ve heard a lot or a little bit about the recent shooting in the synagogue in Pittsburgh. Over half (51 percent) of North Carolinians said they were very concerned about the possibility of more threats or violent acts happening in the next few weeks. A little more than one-third (36 percent) stated that they were a little bit concerned, and only 10 percent are not at all concerned.

“People in North Carolina continue to see relatively deep divisions between people in the country,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll. “If there is good news in this set of results, it is that large majorities of people still express interest in knowing people with different views and few people say they have taken dramatic actions simply because of political disagreements.”

All adults – Politics and Civility (October 2018)

Now I would like to ask you some other questions about how people are getting along in the United States these days. Thinking about the American people as a whole, do you think that right now people in the U.S. are more united, more divided, or not much different than usual?

More united – 8 percent

More divided – 68 percent

Not much different than usual – 19 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 5 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

All adults – Politics and Civility (October 2018)

I am going to read a series of statements about how you feel about other people.  Please tell me how much you agree or disagree with each statement. Would you say strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree?

[Note: Each respondent was presented with a randomized selection of half of the statements]

  Strongly Agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree (Don’t know/ Refuse)
No matter how much you argue with most people, they won’t change their minds 36 38 15 5 6
Most people only care about themselves 32 35 20 11 3
Most people have little patience for people who disagree with them 32 45 12 7 5
You can trust fewer people these days than in the past 30 37 19 9 5
I am interested in making friends with people who have different views than I do 28 41 16 7 8
I avoid confrontations about differences in values more often than I used to 27 30 23 12 8
I am more tolerant of people with different views than I used to be 26 44 18 7 5
I do not trust most people 21 32 25 16 5
I am less patient than I used to be 20 29 22 25 4
Most people can be trusted 10 34 27 23 6
Most people do not respect my point of view 10 21 36 22 11
I disagree more with my friends than I used to 9 18 33 32 9

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

All adults – Politics and Civility (October 2018)

I am going to read a list of possible negative things that could result from political disagreements.  For each one, please let me know if political disagreements have caused this to happen to you personally.

[Note: Each respondent was presented with a randomized selection of half of the actions]

  Yes No (Don’t know/ refuse)
Unfriended or otherwise ended a connection with someone on social media 34 59 7
Ended a discussion with someone you had just met 25 67 8
Got angry when you saw a political bumper sticker 23 71 6
Ended a friendship with someone 21 74 5
Stopped talking to a close family member 16 77 7
Stopped going to a shop or restaurant where you saw a political sign 15 80 5
Changed your home or residence (that is, moved) 10 86 4
Changed your place of worship 7 87 5

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

All adults – Pipe Bombs and Pittsburgh Synagogue (October 2018)

How much have you heard about packages with pipe bombs that have recently been delivered to some well-known people in politics? Would you say that you have a heard a lot, a little bit, or not much at all about those packages?

A lot – 52 percent

A little bit – 34 percent

Not much at all – 11 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 3 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

How much have you heard about the recent shooting in the synagogue in Pittsburgh?  Would you say that you have a heard a lot, a little bit, or not much at all about that shooting?

A lot – 55 percent

A little bit – 30 percent

Not much at all – 13 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 2 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

Would you say you are very concerned, a little bit concerned, or not at all concerned about the possibility of more threats or violent acts happening in the next few weeks?

Very concerned – 51 percent

A little bit concerned – 36 percent

Not at all concerned – 10 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Oct. 26 – Nov. 1, 2018, n = 842 and credibility interval of +/- 4.1 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2018 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from a total of 842 adults who were either interviewed online (557 respondents) and landline or cellular telephones (285 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 4.1 percentage points to account for a traditional 95 percent confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.4 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.2 (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/2018/11/62memoB.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 is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

Share Button

Related Posts