HPU Poll: Two in Five North Carolinians Felt Tropical Storm Michael Effects

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 13, 2018 – The most recent HPU Poll finds that more than two in five (41 percent) of North Carolinians say their families were directly affected by Tropical Storm Michael last month. This is compared to 38 percent that told us in our late September poll that their families were directly affected by Hurricane Florence.

A little more than three-quarters of poll respondents (77 percent) said that there were enough notifications about Tropical Storm Michael. Almost everyone surveyed (95 percent) in the late September poll said there were enough notifications about Hurricane Florence.

Majorities of North Carolina residents (55 percent) say that they were extremely well prepared or very well prepared for Tropical Storm Michael. Only half of those surveyed (50 percent) felt that the state was extremely well prepared or very well prepared for the storm, compared to 63 percent from our late September poll that felt the state itself was extremely well or very well prepared for Hurricane Florence.

And many North Carolina residents took it upon themselves to stock up on a number of items. Poll respondents say they made sure to buy water (68 percent), extra gas (61 percent), bread (56 percent), milk (48 percent), and toilet paper (48 percent). Fewer people surveyed say they stocked up on plywood or other materials to protect their homes (14 percent), beer or other alcoholic beverages (15 percent), fruit (33 percent), eggs (36 percent), or flashlights (45 percent).

We asked which storm, Michael or Florence, caused the most damage to their life and property. One-quarter (24 percent) said Michael, one-third (34 percent) said Florence, only 10 percent said both about the same, and 30 percent said that neither storm affected them.

“Fewer North Carolinians told us that there were enough notifications about Tropical Storm Michael compared to Hurricane Florence,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor of survey research methods. “Having just been through Florence though, majorities of our poll respondents felt prepared for Michael, making sure to stock up on water, gas, and bread before the storm.”

All adults – North Carolinians Affected by Michael (October 2018)

Now I am going to ask you some questions about the recent Hurricane and Tropical Storm, Florence and Michael, that hit North Carolina.

Were you or members of your family directly affected by Tropical Storm Michael?

Yes – 41 percent

No – 57 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)

All adults – Self Preparedness (October 2018)

How well prepared did you feel you were for Tropical Storm Michael? Would you say extremely well prepared, very well prepared, somewhat well-prepared, not very well prepared, or not at all well prepared?

Extremely well – 20 percent

Very well – 35 percent

Moderately well – 30 percent

Slightly well – 9 percent

Not well at all – 3 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)

All adults – Storm Damage (October 2018)

Thinking about both storms, Michael and Florence, which one caused the most damage to your life and property?

Michael – 24 percent

Florence – 34 percent

(Both about the same) – 10 percent

(Neither affected me) – 30 percent

(Don’t know) – 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)

All adults – Number of Storm Notifications (October 2018)

Would you say there were enough notifications about Tropical Storm Michael?

Yes – 77 percent

No – 18 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 – State Preparedness (October 2018)

How well do think the state was prepared for the Tropical Storm Michael? Would you say extremely well, very well, moderately well, slightly well, or not well prepared at all?

Extremely well – 19 percent

Very well – 31 percent

Moderately well – 28 percent

Slightly well – 9 percent

Not well at all – 8 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 – Items Bought Before Storm (October 2018)

Which of these items, if any, did you make sure to buy before Tropical Storm Michael hit North Carolina?

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

  Yes No (Don’t know/ Refuse)
Water 68 30 2
Extra gas 61 36 3
Bread 56 42 2
Milk 48 51 2
Toilet Paper 48 49 2
Flashlights 45 52 3
Eggs 36 63 2
Fruit 33 64 3
Beer or other alcoholic beverages 15 81 4
Plywood or other materials to protect your home 14 84 3

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 (285 respondents) and landline or cellular telephones (557 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/2018/11/62memoA.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.

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