HPU Poll: Majorities of North Carolinians Stock Up on Water, Bread and Milk for Snowstorm

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HIGH POINT, N.C., March 12, 2018 – As winter weather approaches the East Coast and North Carolina, a High Point University Poll surveyed North Carolinians on the popular claim that they stock up on bread, milk and other supplies when the threat of a winter storm looms.

The poll finds that a majority of North Carolinians say they make sure to buy water, 72 percent, while smaller majorities stock up on toilet paper (59 percent), bread (58 percent) and milk (50 percent) before major snowstorms.

Fewer people say they buy fruit (45 percent) and eggs (44 percent) before a snowstorm.

“Well, if you think the bread shelves seem bare at the store before snow, you are probably right,” says Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll. “This question shows us a bit about how North Carolinians may be planning for today’s snowy weather.”

All adults – What people buy in case of snow (Late February 2018)

Which of these items, if any, do you make sure you buy before a major snowstorm hits? (ITEMS RANDOMIZED)


Yes – 72 percent

No – 26 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent


Toilet paper

Yes – 59 percent

No – 38 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent



Yes – 58 percent

No – 40 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent



Yes – 50 percent

No – 47 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent



Yes – 45 percent

No – 53 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 2 percent



Yes – 44 percent

No – 54 percent

(Don’t know/refuse) – 3 percent


(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 19-25, 2018, n = 513 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 19-25, 2018. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 513 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The registered voter subsample relied on responses from the participants about their own registration status and yielded a total of 413 respondents. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.3 percentage points for all adult respondents and an approximate margin of sampling error of 4.8 percent for the self-described registered voters. The data is weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender, race, and education level based on U.S. Census and CDC numbers for North Carolina. In addition to sampling error, 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 www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2018/03/57memoD.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


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 serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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