77 percent of registered voters in North Carolina can name Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. But, only seven percent can name their state senator, according to a recent study conducted by Elon Poll.
Today, Elon Poll released the results from a study of 625 registered North Carolina voters taken between February 12 and 15. The poll measured voters’ level of political knowledge, their familiarity with and opinions about congressional redistricting and their thoughts about voting this year.
In a live-caller survey, Dr. Jason Husser, director of Elon Poll, and his team asked participants to name the job of various elected officials, about the process of redistricting in North Carolina and to guess the party, gender and racial composition of the North Carolina General Assembly.
The decision to research this question is correlated to one of Elon University’s key missions.
“In general this is part of the university’s civic education commitment,” Husser said. “Part of civic engagement at base is simply knowing who are elected officials are.”
The overall conclusion drawn is that knowledge of federal and statewide elected officials was higher than knowledge of local North Carolina officials, a trend that is seen nationally. Husser believes that knowledge of elected officials is a key part of democracy.
“Knowledge is partial democracy and that’s part of our goal as a university; to share knowledge. So knowing how much people know about politics is a really important thing for democracy,” Husser said.
At the end of the survey, 62% of participants said they are “extremely motivated” to vote this year in the midterm elections. Although Husser believes that Elon Poll doesn’t have a changing effect on its participants, he hopes it will assist people in making informed voting decisions