HPU Poll: Presidential Approval at 43%, Governor Approval at 49% with Registered Voters

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 30, 2020 – In a new High Point University Poll, 43% of registered voters in North Carolina approve of the way President Donald Trump is doing his job as president, while approximately half (51%) disapprove.

The same North Carolina registered voters give Gov. Roy Cooper a job approval rating of 49%, while 36% say they disapprove. Of that same sample, 15% did not offer an opinion either way.  

The HPU Poll’s registered voter respondents give U.S. Senator Thom Tillis a job approval rating of 30% with 50% saying they disapprove. Of that same sample, 20% did not offer an opinion either way.  

Finally, the same North Carolina registered voters give the United States Supreme Court a job approval rating of 48% with 26% saying they disapprove. Of that same sample, 26% did not offer an opinion either way.  

More than half (58%) of North Carolina’s registered voters say the country is off on the wrong track. Approximately one-third (33%) of those registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction.

The HPU Poll also reports favorability ratings for the major party candidates for president, U.S. Senate and North Carolina governor, as well as major party leaders. Among candidates, the HPU Poll finds favorable/unfavorable numbers of 33%/47% for Tillis; 41%/39% for Cal Cunningham, democratic candidate for U.S. Senate; 48%/33% for Cooper; 33%/33% for Dan Forest, republican candidate for governor; 41%/51% for Trump; and 46%/43% for Joe Biden, democratic candidate for president.

Examining ratings for leaders of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, the poll finds favorable/unfavorable numbers of 26%/45% for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and 29%/53% for Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi.

“The most recent HPU Poll asked registered voters in North Carolina to rate the major candidates as the election season nears its end,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “These ratings give us insight into how voters are seeing these candidates as we approach Election Day.”

NC registered voters – Country Direction (October 2020)

Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

Right direction – 33%

Wrong track – 58%

Don’t know/refused – 8%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

NC registered voters – Presidential Job Approval (October 2020)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Donald Trump is handling his job as president?

Approve – 43%

Disapprove – 51%

Don’t know/refuse – 6%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

NC registered voters – NC Governor Approval (October 2020)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Roy Cooper is handling his job as Governor of North Carolina?

Approve – 49%

Disapprove – 36%

Don’t know/refused – 15%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

NC registered voters – Senator Tillis Job Approval (October 2020)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Thom Tillis is handling his job as United States Senator?

Approve – 30%

Disapprove – 50%

Don’t know/refuse – 20%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

NC registered voters – US Supreme Court Approval (October 2020)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Supreme Court is handling its job?

Approve – 48%

Disapprove – 26%

Don’t know/refused – 26%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

NC registered voters – Favorability Ratings (October 2020)

Now I am going read a list of people. For each one, please tell me whether your overall opinion of that person is favorable or unfavorable. If you have never heard of this person, you should say so 

  Favorable Unfavorable Neither (Don’t know/Never heard of person) (Refused)
Thom Tillis 33% 47% 13% 6% 1%
Cal Cunningham 41% 39% 13% 7% *
Dan Forest 33% 33% 15% 18% *
Roy Cooper 48% 33% 12% 6% *
Donald Trump 41% 51% 6% 3% *
Joe Biden 46% 43% 7% 3% 1%
Mitch McConnell 26% 45% 16% 13% *
Nancy Pelosi 29% 53% 11% 7% 1%

(Registered voter sample from NC voter file and confirmed registered voter online panel, surveyed Oct. 9 – 28, 2020, n = 800 and credibility interval is +/- 4%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Oct. 9 – 28 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 800 registered voters interviewed online (601 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (199 respondents). The Survey Research Center drew the live interviewer sample from the voter file made public by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (https://www.ncsbe.gov/Public-Records-Data-Info/Election-Results-Data). The Survey Research Center contracted with Dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/ to acquire the confirmed registered voter online sample, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. This is a combined poll 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 percentage points to account for a traditional 95 percent confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.5 percentage points) and a design effect (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population (NC registered voters) estimates for age, gender, and race/ethnicity based on the parameters of the full voter file at the North Carolina State Board of Elections as well as education level based on US Census estimates for registered voters. 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/2020/10/76memoA.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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