HPU Poll: North Carolinians are Split on Support for Border Wall

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 22, 2019 – The most recent HPU Poll finds that North Carolinians are split over general support or opposition of the proposed wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. They have similar disagreements about how effective the wall would be in reducing illegal immigration.

There was no clear majority among the North Carolina residents polled about the border wall with 44 percent saying they favored a proposal to substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Forty-six percent say they oppose the proposal.

When asked if substantially expanding the wall along the border with Mexico would impact illegal immigration into the U.S., about one-third (36 percent) say that the project would lead to a major reduction in illegal immigration, while another third (34 percent) say that it would not have much impact at all. Twenty-one percent say that it would lead to a minor reduction in illegal immigration.

More than half (53 percent) of these same respondents say the shutdown that started on Dec. 22 and continued for 35 days was a very serious problem for the country. Twenty-two percent say the shutdown was a somewhat serious problem, while 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively, say the shutdown was not too serious or not at all a serious problem for the country.

“We asked North Carolinians in early February their opinion on a proposed wall along the U.S. border with Mexico with no clear majority favoring or opposing such a proposal,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll. “Our poll was before President Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border. Even so, two in five North Carolinians believe that a wall would lead to a minor reduction in illegal immigration. And only one-third of respondents have the opinion that a wall would have a major reduction in illegal immigration.”

The poll also asked North Carolinians how much they approved or disapproved of how President Donald Trump and Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress handled negotiations over the government shutdown. A total of 39 percent of North Carolina residents say they strongly approve or somewhat approve of the president’s handling of the negotiations. A total of 33 percent of the same respondents say they strongly approve or somewhat approve of how Republican congressional leaders handled them, and 38 percent say they strongly approve or somewhat approve of how Democratic congressional leaders handled the negotiations.

As for whether North Carolinians worry about the lingering effects of the shutdown on their tax returns, a majority (51 percent) say they are very concerned or somewhat concerned that the Internal Revenue Service will not be able to process tax returns on time this year. A total of 43 percent say they are not very concerned or not at all concerned about that prospect.

“Overall, people in North Carolina saw the government shutdown as a relatively serious problem and did not appear to give high marks to the president or leaders in Congress for their handling of negotiations over the stalemate,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science and director of the HPU Poll. “Recent events show that the parties do not appear to have a plan for resolving future conflicts over the budget and border security without the drama that this negotiation involved.”

All adults – Support for expansion of border wall (February 2019)

As you may know, there is a proposal to substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. In general, do you favor or oppose this proposal?

Favor – 44 percent

Oppose – 46 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 11 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Feb. 4-11, 2019, n = 873 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percent)

All adults – Wall effect on illegal immigration (February 2019)

Do you think substantially expanding the wall along the border with Mexico would lead to a major reduction in illegal immigration into the U.S., a minor reduction in illegal immigration, or not have much impact?

Major reduction – 36 percent

Minor reduction – 21 percent

Not have much impact – 34 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 8 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Feb. 4-11, 2019, n = 873 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percent)

All adults – Recent government shutdown (February 2019)

Thinking about the government shutdown that started on December 22nd…. How serious a problem, if at all, do you think the government shutdown was for the country, a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious or not at all serious?

Very serious – 53 percent

Somewhat serious – 22 percent

Not too serious – 15 percent

Not at all serious – 6 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 4 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Feb. 4-11, 2019, n = 873 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percent)

All adults – Handling negotiations over government shutdown (February 2019)

Now I am going to read a series of names of people in the US government. Please let me know how much you approve or disapprove of how each of these people handled negotiations over the government shutdown.

  Strongly Approve Somewhat approve Somewhat disapprove Strongly Disapprove (Don’t know/ Refuse)
President Donald Trump 22 17 10 43 8
Republican Leaders in Congress 14 19 23 33 11
Democratic Leaders in Congress 16 22 18 33 11

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Feb. 4-11, 2019, n = 873 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percent)

All adults – Shutdown effect on tax returns (February 2019)

How concerned are you that the Internal Revenue Service will not be able to process tax returns on time this year?  Would you say very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, or not at all concerned?

Very concerned – 25 percent

Somewhat concerned – 26 percent

Not very concerned – 23 percent

Not at all concerned – 20 percent

(Don’t know/Refused) – 7 percent

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed Feb. 4-11, 2019, n = 873 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 4–11, 2019 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 873 adults interviewed online (594 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (279 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with Dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ 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 4.4 percentage points to account for a traditional 95 percent confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.3 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/2019/02/63memoB.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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