Carolina Issues Poll

Carolina Issues poll – May 2011

NC Policy Watch is happy to announce the release of the May 2011 edition of its Carolina Issues Poll. Each month, the staff of NC Policy Watch develops a series of questions on timely issues impacting state policy debates that are then vetted and posed to registered voters by the nationally recognized, Raleigh-based polling firm Public Policy Polling.

This month’s poll quizzed nearly 800 voters on May 12, 13 and 14 regarding a wide variety of current issues, including:

- The state budget shortfall and the competing strategies for closing it,
- Proposed cuts to universities,
- The ongoing effort by the General Assembly to hold up unemployment benefits to eligible workers,
- Gun laws, and
- The inclusion of insurance companies on the “exchange” that will oversee the new marketplace established by federal health reform.

Here are the results:

In general, voters continue to voice great skepticism at the “cuts-only” approach favored by legislative leaders for addressing the state budget shortfall.

Q1 Because of the national recession, the state faces a revenue shortfall reaching $3.7 billion. Without additional revenue, addressing the shortfall will mean a cuts-only approach that requires deeper cuts than would otherwise be necessary to schools, public safety, healthcare, and other services. Would you favor an approach that makes cuts to services only, raises revenues only or combines cuts and spending with new revenues?

Favor cuts only……………………………………………………31%

Favor raising revenue only……………………………………12%

Favor combination of cuts and revenue increases…….46%

Not sure ……………………………………………………………..12%

Q2 Which one of the following two approaches do you feel is the better way to use state dollars to strengthen North Carolina’s economy: 1) Invest in education, transportation, and public safety to improve communities and give businesses the tools to expand and create jobs or 2) Reduce taxes for businesses and upper income households to increase corporate profits and jobs?

Favor investing in education, transportation, and public safety to help the economy…..58%

Favor reducing taxes on upper income households to increase profits and jobs………….32%

Not sure ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10%    
Voters were also skeptical about cuts to higher education and the possibility of new tuition hikes.  

Q3 The North Carolina House of Representatives has proposed a state budget that cuts investments in our state university system by more than 15%. Do you think this is likely to harm the quality of the education provided to the 220,000 students served by the system?

A 15% cut will harm the quality of education…….48%

It will not……………………………………………………….42%

Not sure ………………………………………………………..10%

Q4 One of the reasons the budget proposed by the House of Representatives has less money to spend is because it would allow the state sales tax rate to fall by one percent and a small surcharge on the income taxes paid by wealthy households to expire. Given the choice of reducing these taxes and reducing university investments, which would you prefer?

Prefer reducing these tax rates and reducing university investments……………34%

Prefer keeping current tax rates and keeping university cuts to a minimum….54%

Not sure ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 12%

Q5 For an in-state resident, the cost of attending the University of North Carolina can range as high as $20,000 per year on some campuses. Do you think that raising tuition above current levels is a good option to provide more funding for higher education?

Good idea ……………………………………………….24%

Bad idea…………………………………………………..65%

Not sure …………………………………………………..11%
Voters continue to strongly reject the approach of legislative leaders to link the extension of expired unemployment insurance benefits to the 2012 state budget.

Q6 For the past month, state legislative leaders have told Governor Perdue that they will not consider a bill that would extend unemployment benefits to 37,000 workers whose benefits have expired unless she agrees to their demands for overall state spending for 2012. Do you think the legislature should go ahead and vote on the bill to extend benefits and keep the issue separate from the budget debate?

Yes………………………………………………………… 52%

No …………………………………………………………. 31%

Not sure …………………………………………………. 17%


Four other initiatives of the conservative General Assembly also receive low marks: the move to reduce early voting, the time and attention devoted to social issues like guns and abortion, the proposal to expand concealed carry of weapons into parks and restaurants and the bill to place insurance companies on the “
exchange” that will oversee the new marketplace established by federal health reform.


Q7 State legislators are currently considering a proposal that would reduce the amount of time given to North Carolinians to participate in early voting by seven days. Do you think this is a good idea?

Support…………………………………………………..38%

Oppose……………………………………………………49%

Not sure.………………………………………………….13%

Q8 Since they took office in January, state legislators have devoted a great deal of time to debating controversial social issues like abortion and concealed weapons. Do you think this is a good use of their time in Raleigh?

Yes…………………………………………………………24%

No.…………………………………………………………62%

Not sure.…………………………………………………14%

Q9 State lawmakers are considering a proposal to make it lawful for North Carolinians to carry concealed handguns into restaurants and public parks. Do you favor this change?

Yes…………………………………………………………36%

No …………………………………………………………54%

Not sure.…………………………………………………11%

Q10 State legislators are currently debating a proposal that would give health insurance companies several seats on a new board that will help regulate the health care market created by federal health reform. Supporters say the companies will bring important expertise. Consumer advocates say the insurance companies should be kept off because they have a conflict of interest. Do you think this is a good idea?

Support…………………………………………………..22%

Oppose……………………………………………………69%

Not sure……………………………………………………9%  

 

To read the entire poll, as well as the crosstabs, click here.

 

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