HPU Poll: Inflation is Biggest Issue in North Carolina Households

Sep 02nd, 2022

HPU Poll: Inflation is Biggest Issue in North Carolina Households

HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 2, 2022 – In a new High Point University Poll, 73% of North Carolinians said inflation is still the most important issue in the state right now.

For example, more than half (56%) of North Carolinians said that higher gas prices have affected their household a lot. Just over one-third (34%) said gas prices affected them a little bit, and 8% said not at all.

North Carolinians were also asked to think about the prices they are currently paying for products compared to last year. Majorities said that prices are much higher for gas for their cars (76%), meat (64%) and eggs (52%). Less than half of the poll respondents said that they are paying a much higher price for fruits and vegetables (49%), milk (48%), natural gas (43%), bread (41%), electronics (36%), clothing (35%), water (32%) and toys (27%).

“North Carolinians continue to say that gas prices are affecting their household a lot, similar to a poll conducted in April,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “In addition to paying more for gas than they did compared to a year ago, a majority of respondents feel that they are also paying more for products like meat and eggs.”

The poll also asked respondents to indicate who or what is to blame for current levels of inflation. They were practically split between placing a lot of the blame on President Biden (47%) and on the COVID-19 pandemic (44%). Around one-third of North Carolinians felt that a lot of the blame should be on Russia (37%) and China (31%). Even fewer said that a lot of the blame should be on Republicans in Congress (28%), the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. (26%), or U.S. consumers themselves (18%).

The poll also asked North Carolinians to rate the importance of a series of issues for the state right now. More than two-thirds of the respondents said inflation (73%), education (71%), health care (69%) and jobs (68%) are very important issues in North Carolina today. Majorities said that crime (64%), corruption (57%), taxes (57%), abortion (56%), voting fraud (51%) and race relations (51%) are very important issues in North Carolina. Less than majorities said that infrastructure (47%), climate change (47%), COVID-19 (45%), voting suppression (43%), and public transportation (38%) are very important issues in North Carolina.

“Inflation is often associated with either supply shocks or expanse of money supply,” says Brandon M. Dragone, economics professor in the Earl N. Phillips School of Business. “In this case there is probably both, which is what consumers are experiencing. This is why the Fed has been raising interest rates in an attempt to keep inflation under control. Unfortunately, the repercussion is often slowed economic growth, but the trade-off could be a worse situation if interest rates are not raised. We will see how this policy will have an impact.”

NC residents – Prices Currently Paying (August 2022)

Thinking about the prices you are currently paying for products on this list compared to last year, would you say prices are much higher, somewhat higher, about the same as last year, somewhat lower, or much lower in price? (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

Much higher price Somewhat higher price About the same Somewhat lower Much lower Unsure or don’t buy
Gas for your car 76 15 4 1 1 3
Meat 64 24 6 1 1 4
Eggs 52 31 12 1 1 5
Fruits and Vegetables 49 38 8 1 1 3
Milk 48 35 10 1 1 5
Natural Gas 43 22 8 1 2 24
Bread 41 38 14 2 1 4
Electronics 36 31 18 1 1 14
Clothing 35 39 17 2 1 6
Water 32 33 25 1 1 9
Toys 27 24 14 1 1 32

(Online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Aug. 18 – Aug. 25, 2022, n = 1002 and credibility interval is +/- 3.2%)

 NC residents – Gas Prices (August 2022)

How much would you say higher gas prices have affected your household?

A lot – 56%

A little bit – 34%

Not at all – 8%

Unsure – 2%

(Online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Aug. 18 – Aug. 25, 2022, n = 1002 and credibility interval is +/- 3.2%)

 NC residents – Deserves Blame for Inflation (August 2022)

Please indicate whether you think each of these people or things deserves a lot, some, not much, or no blame for current levels of inflation. (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

A lot Some Not much None at all Unsure
President Biden 47 22 15 10 6
The COVID-19 pandemic 44 32 11 7 5
Russia 37 31 15 8 9
China 31 37 15 6 12
Republicans in Congress 28 29 21 12 11
The Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. 26 33 19 7 15
U.S. consumers 18 28 26 19 9

(Online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Aug. 18 – Aug. 25, 2022, n = 1002 and credibility interval is +/- 3.2%)

NC residents – Most Important Issues in NC (August 2022)

How important do you think each of these issues is in North Carolina today? Would you say very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important? (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

Very important Somewhat important Not very important Not at all important Unsure
Inflation 73 18 4 2 3
Education 71 21 4 2 3
Health care 69 23 3 2 3
Jobs 68 24 4 2 3
Crime 64 25 6 2 4
Corruption 57 26 9 2 5
Taxes 57 31 6 2 4
Abortion 56 22 11 5 7
Voting fraud 51 21 13 10 6
Race relations 51 25 12 7 5
Infrastructure 47 34 9 2 8
Climate change 47 23 14 11 5
COVID-19 45 28 13 10 4
Voting suppression 43 25 13 9 10
Public transportation 38 36 14 7 6

(Online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Aug. 18 – Aug. 25, 2022, n = 1002 and credibility interval is +/- 3.2%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by the High Point University Survey Research Center on August 18 through August 25, 2022, as an online survey using a panel of respondents recruited and maintained by Dynata. Dynata sent invitations to its panel of NC respondents and the SRC collected responses on its Qualtrics platform. The SRC did all data analysis. The online sample is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.04 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education 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 errors into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website. 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. See more information here.

You can follow the HPU Poll Twitter here.

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.