The Elon University Poll released its latest survey results entitled, 'Elon Poll: Cooper pulls ahead in N.C. gubernatorial race' on Wednesday, April 19. This month's poll asked questions from a variety of topics, including: House Bill 2, North Carolina's U.S. Senate race, the 2016 U.S. presidential election and public policy issues. The Elon University Poll's last survey, released February 22, focused on the upcoming presidential election.
The poll was conducted by Elon University students from April 10-15, 2016 using a live-caller, dual frame or landline and cellphone, process. Of the 692 North Carolina residents respondents, 621 residents identified as registered voters and were used to compile survey results.
N.C. Gubernatorial Race
The Washington Post describes Governor Pat McCrory's second term reelection campaign as "`one of the most competitive in the nation." April's poll found N.C. Attorney General, Democrat Roy Cooper is currently leading the gubernatorial race against McCrory 48-42 percent. November's poll had Cooper slightly ahead at 41.7-39.9 percent, within the 2.51 percentage points margin of error. According to The Washington Post and Real Clear Politics, Cooper's six point lead is the largest lead he's held in a poll result since 2013. Several media outlets, including The Washington Post and WCNC have suggested McCrory's support for House Bill 2 could be correlated with his slip. Forty nine percent of respondents polled disapprove of the way McCrory is handling is job; almost 14 percent were unsure or didn't know. April's results are the poll's lowest approving rating for the governor since April 2014.
U.S. Senate Race
"North Carolina has a history of not reelecting its U.S. senators," Associate Professor and Director of the Elon University Poll Kenneth Fernandez said. "Democrat Kay Hagan lost in 2014 and it was Hagan who had made Elizabeth Dole a one-term senator before that. Several others had all lost reelection bids and were one-term senators prior to Dole."
Republican Sen. Richard Burr is leading Democrat Deborah Ross 37-33 in the U.S. Senate election. Burr has the support of the independent vote, currently 34-27 percent. When asked about how Burr is currently doing in office, many respondents felt differently; 29 percent approved of the job he's doing as senator, 41 percent disapproved and 29 percent were unsure.
"Burr is one of the few senators in recent history, besides the late Jesse Helms, to have won reelection, and many political analysts believe he has a good shot at repeating that in 2016," Fernandez said.
House Bill 2
When asked about House Bill 2, the controversial state law signed by McCrory that removes many LGBT protections and rights, almost half of survey respondents said state lawmakers should prohibit cities from passing ordinances that allow transgender people to use bathrooms that best match their gender identity. Thirty nine percent of respondents said cities should be allowed to pass those ordinances. Fifty percent of respondents also said cities should be allowed to set a local minimum hourly wage above the state established wage, compared to 44 percent that side with the state law. Sixty five percent of respondents said minimum wage should be more than $10 an hour, the poll found.
House Bill 2 was passed to overturn Charlotte's recent attempts to allow transgender people to use public restrooms that align with their gender identities, and prohibits local municipalities from setting their own minimum wages. The House Bill 2 questions and answers are detailed below.
Recently the city of Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing transgender individuals to use public facilities, such as bathrooms, that best match their gender identity. The state then passed a law prohibiting such local ordinances. In terms of governmental authority, should cities be allowed to adopt such policies or should the state government ban such ordinances?
State should prohibit cities from passing such ordinances: 49 percent
Cities should be allowed to pass such policies: 39 percent
Don't know: 11 percent
Should cities and municipalities in North Carolina be able to create a local minimum hourly wage that is above the state's minimum? Or should state law require all cities to have the same minimum wage?
Cities should be able to raise minimum wage: 50 percent
State law should require cities to have the same wage: 44 percent
Don't know: 6 percent
2016 Presidential Election
In a series of presidential candidate match-ups between the front runners in the democratic and republican parties, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would be defeated by both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if voters were required to elect a president today. Sanders defeated Trump by a 51-38 percent margin; Clinton defeated Trump 45-39. Sanders would also defeat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 49-39, however Cruz would defeat Clinton 44-41.
Sanders garnered most of his support from African-Americans, Independents and women.
Survey respondents were asked to identify with strongly agreeing, agreeing, disagreeing, strongly disagreeing or feeling unsure about several questions related to public policy issues in the state of North Carolina. Almost 60 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the state should provide aid to low income college students, even if it means paying more in taxes, and 68 percent agreed or strongly agreed that paying more in taxes to increase money for public schools was a good idea. Respondents were also asked about LGBT issues, taxes and land. The public policy questions and answers are detailed below.
The state should provide aid to low-income college students, even if I have to pay more taxes.
Strongly Agree: 12 percent, Agree: 47 percent, Disagree: 30 percent, Strongly Disagree: 6 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 6 percent
I would be willing to pay more taxes to increase money for public schools.
Strongly Agree: 18 percent, Agree: 50 percent, Disagree: 24 percent, Strongly Disagree: 5 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 3 percent
The state should reduce taxes, even if this means spending less on social programs like healthcare and unemployment benefits.
Strongly Agree: 7 percent, Agree: 22 percent, Disagree: 48 percent, Strongly Disagree: 18 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 5 percent
North Carolina should invest more in local roads, even if I have to pay more taxes.
Strongly Agree: 9 percent, Agree: 46 percent, Disagree: 33 percent, Strongly Disagree: 6 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 5 percent
Attacking or victimizing a person because of their gender or sexual identity should be a hate crime.
Strongly Agree: 35 percent, Agree: 45 percent, Disagree: 12 percent, Strongly Disagree: 2 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 5 percent
North Carolina should open up more of its lands and waters for energy development, such as oil and gas.
Strongly Agree: 9 percent, Agree: 37 percent, Disagree: 32 percent, Strongly Disagree: 15 percent, Don't Know/Unsure: 7 percent
70 percent of registered voters said they feel the nation is off on the wrong track, compared to 58 percent that feel the state is off on the wrong track.
April's poll results have already been referenced in The Washington Post, The Charlotte Observer and the Greensboro News & Record. The poll has a recorded margin of error of 3.93 percentage points.
The full poll results can be found on the Elon University Poll website.