HPU Poll: North Carolinians Split on Whether the Amount of Taxes They’ll Pay is Fair

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 15, 2019 – A High Point University Poll finds that when asked if the amount North Carolinians will pay in income and sales taxes this year is fair or unfair, 41% felt the income tax amount was unfair. Forty-six percent felt that the amount of sales tax they would pay is fair, compared to 56% in fall 2015.

Thirty percent believe that the state of North Carolina should receive more of its revenue from sales taxes, and 16% percent felt they should receive more from income taxes, compared to 48% and 27% percent respectively, in fall 2015.

“On the issue of taxes, people appear to view current levels of income and sales tax about the same, relative to fairness and unfairness,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “Perceptions seemed to have changed since 2015 as fewer North Carolinians view their income tax as unfair in 2019, and fewer view sales tax as fair as they did more than four years ago.”

All adults – Income Tax (March/April 2019)

Do you regard the amount of income tax you will pay this year as fair or unfair?

Fair – 42%

Unfair – 41%

Don’t know/refuse – 17%

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 841 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4%)

All adults – Sales Tax (March/April 2019)

Do you regard the amount of sales tax you will pay this year as fair or unfair?

Fair – 46%

Unfair – 40%

Don’t know/refuse – 14%

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 841 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4%)

All adults – North Carolina Taxes (March/April 2019)

Do you think that the state of North Carolina should receive more of its revenue from sales taxes or income taxes?

Sales Tax – 30%

Income Tax – 16%

Neither – 16%

Equal amounts of both – 22%

Don’t know/refused – 16%

(All adult (North Carolina resident) phone and online sample, surveyed March 29 – April 4, 2019, n = 841 and credibility interval of +/- 4.4%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 29 – April 4, 2019 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 841 adults interviewed online (602 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (239 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% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.4 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/2019/04/65memoA.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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