Voters say North Carolina on right track, nation on wrong track

By: Lindsay Marchello - Carolina Journal

RALEIGH — More North Carolinians now think the state is headed in the right direction — as compared to seven months ago — but a majority still believe the country is on the wrong path, a new poll says.

SurveyUSA, along with Spectrum News North Carolina, conducted the poll surveying North Carolinians about state and federal politics, gun control proposals, and grocery stores.

The poll surveyed 600 adults — including 526 registered voters — April 27-30. Questions for registered voters yielded a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.6 percent.

More registered voters disapproved of President Trump’s job performance — as compared to those who approved, continuing a trend from the most recent SurveyUSA poll. Fifty percent disapproved of the president’s performance; 43 percent approved, and 7 percent weren’t sure. Unsurprisingly, approval ratings are split on party lines, with 82 percent of Republicans approving and 88 percent of Democrats disapproving. Independents are split — 40 percent approve, and 50 percent disapprove, with 10 percent unsure.

More than 50 percent of respondents said the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction, compared to 40 percent who said the country is on the right track. The remainder are unsure.

On the issue of North Korea, 52 percent of respondents said it’s a good idea for Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At the same time, 40 percent trust the president will make the right foreign policy decisions, leaving 8 percent unsure.

This is another category that falls along party lines, as more Republicans trust in the president’s foreign policy skills than do Democrats and Independents. Democrats are split — 34 percent and 36 percent — on whether it’s a good idea for Trump to meet Kim Jong Un in person.

Respondents diverge about whether allegations of Trump’s sexual affairs are serious, minor, or of no concern. Thirty-seven percent said the allegations are a serious public concern; 23 percent said they’re only a minor concern. Thirty-six percent said the allegations weren’t a concern. Four percent are unsure.

North Carolinians view the state’s trajectory more favorably than that of the nation.

Forty-seven percent of respondents think North Carolina is on the right track, while 31 percent believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. The remainder are unsure. In the most recent poll, 37 percent said the state was on the right path, and 41 percent said the state was on the wrong path. Twenty-two percent weren’t sure.

Approval for Gov. Roy Cooper remains higher than that for the General Assembly. Nearly 50 percent of respondents approved of Cooper’s job performance; 26 percent disapproved. Twenty-four percent are unsure about the governor’s performance. Thirty-two percent approved of the General Assembly’s job performance; 35 percent disapproved, and the rest weren’t sure.

If the general election for members of the General Assembly were held today, 44 percent of respondents would vote for a Democratic candidate; 37 percent would vote for a Republican. Seventeen percent were undecided, and 2 percent would vote for a third-party candidate.

Similarly, Democratic candidates on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representative are favored more than their Republican counterparts. If the election were held today, 44 percent would vote for a Democratic candidate, compared to 41 percent who would vote for a Republican. Twelve percent are undecided, and 3 percent would vote for a third-party candidate.

A larger percentage of respondents — 34 percent — want lawmakers to focus on education, followed by 20 percent who are interested in taxes and 18 percent who are interested in school security. Seven percent said judicial redistricting is the most important issue, but just 3 percent said prison reform should be a priority.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that will run through eight N.C. counties, dominated the news earlier in 2017. About 40 percent of respondents support the pipeline, 32 percent oppose it, and 27 percent are unsure.

The poll asked North Carolinians how they think the state should use the $57.8 million in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It’s now targeted toward public education in the counties affected by the pipeline. Respondents are evenly split — 31 percent for each — on whether the money should go to economic development or education. Twenty-eight percent said the money should go toward environmental concerns, and 10 percent are unsure.

The debate over gun control remains at the forefront of public debate.

Pollsters asked all 600 respondents whether they support a range of gun control measures. The poll reports overwhelming support for background checks at gun shows and for private sales — 90 percent and 83 percent supporting each measure, respectively.

Most respondents — 70 percent — support a ban on “assault-style” rifles, such as the AR-15, and 77 percent approve of funding metal detectors or other security screening measures in schools.

Respondents mostly disapproved of arming teachers, even if they undergo proper firearm training. Nearly 50 percent opposed this proposal; 35 percent approved with the remainder undecided.

On a different note, SurveyUSA asked residents where they prefer to shop for groceries.

North Carolinians are showing their love for Walmart and Food Lion over other grocery chains, such as Harris Teeter and Kroger. Walmart, which 35 percent of respondents preferred, is a favorite among those aged 18 to 34, minorities, and people with high school educations. Food Lion was second, with 28 percent of respondents saying they shop there.

Lindsay Marchello

Carolina Journal