HPU Poll: Majority in North Carolina Says Biden Will Successfully Pass His Programs

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 11, 2021 – A High Point University Poll finds a majority of North Carolinians think President Joe Biden will be successful in passing his programs. The poll also finds that North Carolina residents are pessimistic about relations between Democrats and Republicans, as well as the political divisions in the country and state.

Policies – Approval and Likelihood of Success

A majority of poll respondents (56%) say they think Biden will be successful in getting his programs passed into law, while 21% think he will be unsuccessful. The HPU Poll asked a similar question in a February 2017 poll about then President Donald Trump, where 67% of North Carolinians said they thought Trump would be successful in getting his programs passed into law, while 23% thought he would be unsuccessful.

Just under half (45%) of North Carolinians now say they think Gov. Roy Cooper will be successful in getting his programs passed, while 23% say he will be unsuccessful. About one-third (32%) do not offer an opinion either way. In 2017, 42% of those poll respondents said they thought Cooper would be successful in getting his programs passed, while 33% said he would be unsuccessful.

In terms of their approval of Biden’s and Cooper’s policies, North Carolinians appear closer than they felt about Trump and Cooper in 2017. Over half (52%) of North Carolina residents say that, as best they can tell, they approve of Biden’s policies and plans for the future, while 33% say they disapprove. In 2017, 40% of North Carolina residents said that, as best they could tell, they approved of Trump’s policies and plans for the future, while 52% said they disapproved.

Almost half (49%) say they approve of Cooper’s policies and plans, as best they can tell, while 26% disapprove, and one-quarter (25%) do not offer an opinion either way. In 2017, 46% said they approved of Roy Cooper’s policies and plans, as best they can tell, while 19% disapproved.

“A majority of North Carolinians believe President Biden will pass his policy program, but this is a smaller proportion of people who thought the same of President Trump in 2017,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and chair and associate professor of political science. “In the case of Gov. Cooper, people in North Carolina are less sure he will be successful in passing his program, which makes sense given Republican control of the General Assembly. And when it comes to taking the lead on policy, there are divisions along partisan lines about who should do it – the executive or one of the parties in the legislature.”

Who should set national and state policy?

North Carolinians’ opinion on who they want to see take the lead role in setting U.S. policy has shifted in the past four years. Almost half (45%) say they want to see Biden take the lead role, compared to only 23% that wanted to see Trump take the lead role in 2017. The most recent poll had almost one-third (31%) say they would like to see Republicans in Congress take the lead and 12% of respondents say they want Democrats in Congress setting policy. In 2017, 21% said they would like to see Republicans in Congress take the lead, while 40% said they want Democrats in Congress setting policy.

The partisan divisions amongst North Carolinians on who they would like to see setting policy in the state of North Carolina haven’t shifted substantially since 2017. Almost two-fifths (39%) say they want Cooper to have the lead role in setting policy, while 29% want to see Republicans in the General Assembly in that role, and 18% want to see Democrats in the General Assembly take the lead role.

Four years ago, 35% of respondents said they wanted Cooper to have the lead role in setting policy, while 31% wanted to see Republicans in the General Assembly in that role, and 24% wanted to see Democrats in the General Assembly take the lead role.

Presidential Relationship with Businesses or Foreign Governments

This latest poll also asked North Carolinians how concerned they are that Biden’s relationships with organizations, businesses or foreign governments conflicted with his ability to serve the country’s best interests. Just over half (54%) say that they were very concerned or somewhat concerned, while 39% said that they are not too concerned or not at all concerned. Only 8% did not offer an opinion.

“Even with North Carolinians’ concern over President Biden’s relationships with organizations, businesses, or foreign governments, a majority still believe that he will be successful in getting his programs passed into law,” says Brian McDonald, the associate director of the HPU Poll and an adjunct professor. “People still see disunity among the American people as a whole after the 2020 elections, and they believe that will stay the same or believe will get worse.”

Political Divisions in America and NC

North Carolinians are not particularly optimistic about Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., or Raleigh getting along better, and that hasn’t changed much since the last election. Just over one-quarter (26%) say they think relations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington will get better this year, while more about one-third (34%) say they will get worse and another third (31%) say they will stay the same. In 2017, 21% said they thought relations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington would get better, while 53% said they would get worse, and 24% said they would stay the same.

Respondents’ views of party relations in Raleigh are not much more positive. About 1 in 5 (19%) say they think that relations between Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh will get better this year, while a quarter (25%) of North Carolinians say relations will get worse and 2 in 5 say about the same (41%). In 2017, 21% said that relations between Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh would get better, while 37% said they would get worse or stay about the same (37%).

More than half (59%) of respondents in the new poll say people in the U.S. are more divided, which is less than the 75% who said the same thing four years ago. Only 37% of North Carolina residents in the new poll say that people in North Carolina are not much more divided after the 2020 elections than usual, but slightly more (40%) say that people in North Carolina are more divided. In 2017, 45% said that people in North Carolina were not much more divided than usual after the 2016 elections, and 44% said that people in North Carolina were more divided.

NC residents – Country Lead Role (January/February 2021)

Who do you want to see take the lead role in setting policy for the country – President Biden, Republicans in Congress, or Democrats in Congress? 

President Biden – 45%

Republicans in Congress – 31%

Democrats in Congress – 12%

Don’t know/Refused – 12%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Presidents Policies and Plans (January/February 2021)

As best you can tell, do you approve or disapprove of Joe Biden’s policies and plans for the future? 

Approve – 52%

Disapprove – 33%

Don’t know/Refused – 15%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Presidents Success (January/February 2021)

Generally, do you think Joe Biden will be successful or unsuccessful in getting his programs passed into law? 

Successful – 56%

Unsuccessful – 21%

Don’t know/Refused – 23%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Country Best Interest (January/February 2021)

How concerned are you that Joe Biden’s relationships with organizations, businesses, or foreign governments conflict with his ability to serve the country’s best interests? Are you… 

Very concerned – 34%

Somewhat concerned – 20%

Not too concerned – 19%

Not at all concerned – 20%

Don’t know/Refused – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – NC Lead role (January/February 2021)

Who do you want to see take the lead in setting policy for the state of North Carolina – Governor Cooper, Republicans in the General Assembly, or Democrats in the General Assembly? 

Governor Cooper – 39%

Republicans in the General Assembly – 29%

Democrats in the General Assembly – 18%

Don’t know/Refused – 15%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Governors Policies and Plans (January/February 2021)

As best you can tell, do you approve or disapprove of Roy Cooper’s policies and plans for the future? 

Approve – 49%

Disapprove – 26%

Don’t know/Refused – 25%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Governors Success (January/February 2021)

Generally, do you think Roy Cooper will be successful or unsuccessful in getting his programs passes into law? 

Successful – 45%

Unsuccessful – 23%

Don’t know/Refused – 32%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Washington DC Relationships (January/February 2021)

Do you think relations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington will get better this year, get worse, or stay the same as they are now? 

Get better – 26%

Get worse – 34%

Stay about the same – 31%

Don’t know/Refused – 9%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Raleigh NC Relationships (January/February 2021)

Do you think relations between Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh will get better this year, get worse, or stay the same as they are now? 

Get better – 19%

Get worse – 25%

Stay about the same – 41%

Don’t know/Refused – 15%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – Country Division (January/February 2021)

Now, thinking about the American people as a whole after the 2020 elections, do you think that people in the U.S. are more united, more divided, or not much different than usual? 

More united – 15%

More divided – 59%

Not much different than usual – 20%

Don’t know/Refused – 6%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

NC residents – North Carolina Division (January/February 2021)

Now, thinking about the people of North Carolina as a whole after the 2020 elections, do you think that people in the U.S. are more united, more divided, or not much different than usual? 

More united – 14%

More divided – 40%

Not much different than usual – 37%

Don’t know/Refused – 9%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Jan. 22 – Feb. 4, n = 917 and credibility interval is +/- 3.4%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Jan. 22 through Feb. 4, 2021 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 917 adults interviewed online (800 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (117 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 the SRC’s 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 3.4 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.2 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, and race/ethnicity 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/2021/02/78memoA.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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