Category Archives: NC Politics

Pat McCrory leads in gubernatorial race

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton’s campaign is having trouble getting traction, and it appears unlikely that he’s going to be moving into the governor’s mansion in Raleigh in January. In the  latest Elon University Poll of likely voters, Republican Pat McCrory is leading Dalton, 52% to 38%. (Eight percent are undecided.)

After three gubernatorial debates, media appearances and television ads, the percentages are basically the same as they were in the Labor Day Elon Poll results, in which McCrory was supported by 52% to Dalton’s 37%.

Dalton’s candidacy is hurt by his lack of general name recognition and the idea that he is too closely aligned with Gov. Bev Perdue, whose popularity isn’t at its highest point. Meanwhile, McCrory, who was the popular mayor of the state’s largest city for 14 years, ran a close race against Perdue four years ago.

Based on the presidential poll results, it also doesn’t appear as if President Obama will have any coattails to lift the Democratic ticket. In 2010, voters elected a GOP-controlled state legislature. Unless things turn around for Dalton over the next week, it appears likely that voters will elect the first Republican governor in 20 years.

— John Robinson


Cash and presidential politics

Most Americans, like most North Carolinians, don’t care for all the money flowing into the election process. “More than 8 in 10 Americans in a poll by The Associated Press and the National Constitution Center support limits on the amount of money given to groups that are trying to influence U.S. elections”

In the April Elon University Poll, most North Carolina residents said the unions should restrict the amount of money that corporations, associations and individuals can give to campaigns.

But we are a fickle bunch when it comes to government authority and reach.

Most Americans think the government is doing too much, according to our friends at Gallup. “A majority of Americans (54%) continue to believe the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, although that is down from the record high of 61% earlier this summer.”

Meanwhile, the presidential race is coming to North Carolina with a passion. Both the Charlotte Observer and the News & Record in Greensboro document both the ground game and the visits by outsiders politicking for their candidate.

Seems the state is still considered a battleground.

An added note: The Charlotte Observer writes about polling in North Carolina. The Elon University Poll isn’t mentioned — the paper’s loss — but the article describes the various differences in types of polls. (The Elon Poll is independent, doesn’t accept contract business and uses humans for its polling!)

— John Robinson

McCrory leads in N.C. governor’s race

The presidential race in North Carolina is not the only contest we polled likely voters on. But gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton probably wishes it were.

If the election were held today, Republican Pat McCrory swamps Democrat Dalton among likely voters 52% to 37%. Much of that is name recognition. McCrory, who ran for governor four years ago, has it. Lt. Gov. Dalton doesn’t, at least not yet.

Dalton told the Charlotte Observer that he isn’t worried. “We have plenty of time left; people really have not focused on the race,” he said. “I really don’t go crazy about the polls right now.”

That’s probably a good thing. The conservative-leaning Civitas Poll has McCrory leading with unaffiliated voters, 46% to 29%. The Democratic-leaning PPP has it McCrory 45%-39%.

— John Robinson

Same-sex marriage ban post-mortem

The latest PPP poll confirms what the Elon University Poll showed in April: that most North Carolinians think gay couples should be accorded some sort of legal recognition. Of course, the state’s voters didn’t reflect that polling sentiment at the ballot box earlier this month when the marriage amendment was easily approved. (The Elon Poll surveyed N.C. residents with no screen for likely voters.)

From PPP: In another indication that North Carolinians don’t really know what they voted for last week 55% of voters in the state say they support either gay marriage or civil unions.

In addition, while many African-American churches campaigned for passage of the amendment — perhaps sermonized is a better verb — it appears as if President Obama’s post-election support of gay marriage changed some minds. 55% of African-Americans believe same-sex couples should either be allowed to marry or form civil unions, up 11 points from the last statewide same-sex marriage poll, conducted May 6.

Had the president made his pronouncement before the election, would it have changed the amendment result? Probably not, given that the amendment passed by 22% of the vote. Still, it is a powerful indication of the influential voice of this president.

Update: Another opinion from The Atlantic. The reality is that many in the black community are genuinely struggling to reconcile their faith and their politics, and it may take some time for them to fully evolve on marriage equality. But we shouldn’t discount the progress unfolding before our eyes. Any momentum around what has long been a stagnant issue in the black community is change we can believe in.

— John Robinson

What’s ahead for the General Assembly: guns, voter ID and fracking

The News & Observer gives a preview of what could be on the General Assembly’s dance card during the session that starts this week. We have polled North Carolina residents on several of the topics.

Gun control —  There was talk that one of the gun bills that surfaced last year would resurface. It would allow people who have permits to carry concealed weapons to take them into establishments that serve alcohol and into parks. Our poll showed that 56% of respondents do not want guns in restaurants or parks.

Voter ID — Watch for the GOP to attempt an override or even seek a compromise to get Democratic support in order to put a law in place before the November election. Our poll showed that 74%of North Carolina residents support the idea of a photo ID requirement before voting.

Fracking — A package of three bills – legalizing hydraulic fracturing, promoting offshore energy exploration, and creating a test program for fuel-producing grasses – will definitely be introduced and likely be approved. Our poll indicated that more than half of N. C. residents don’t know what “fracking” is.
While they’re at it, legislators might work on their own image. Our most recent poll showed that their approval rating is at 31%.
— John Robinson

N.C. voters speak on the marriage amendment

North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment yesterday to ban same-sex marriage, declaring that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman.

Just to tie things up, respondents in the Elon University Poll six weeks ago indicated that they believed that gay couples should be accorded some type of legal recognition. The poll was of North Carolina residents and didn’t screen for likely voters. The margin of victory was even higher than predicted by polls of likely voters.

Yesterday, Gallup reported that 50% of Americans believe same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.

Will this result in North Carolina make things harder for President Obama to repeat his 2008 victory here? It’s early in the campaign and those who turn out in a general election are motivated by different things than those who vote in a primary. But it certainly appears as if Mitt Romney has another issue to campaign on when he visits N.C., particularly as the Obama Administration grapples with its position on gay rights.

— John Robinson

Elon Poll in the news

The same-sex marriage ban amendment has captured the attention of the national media. And Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll has, too.

The National Journal



The News & Observer


“Stand your ground” in N.C.: Support, but a racial divide

The “Stand Your Ground” law, in which a person is legally entitled to fight back with deadly force if they feel threatened, even if they could retreat instead, is supported 50% to 45% nationally, according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll.

In North Carolina, which has such a law, respondents in the Elon University Poll are even more emphatic in support of the law — 54% to 38%.

But it isn’t as clear cut as it seems.

The N.C. General Assembly passed the law as part of the “Castle Doctrine,” which provides protection from criminal and civil penalties for those who use guns to defend themselves in their homes, cars and workplaces. It is under the spotlight now because of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

But there is a distinct racial divide over the issue. African Americans oppose the “Stand Your Ground” law, 64%, while whites only 32% of whites oppose it. Flipping it over, 58% of whites support the laws, and 27% of blacks do.

The same is true nationally. From the The Washington Post/ABC News survey. Nearly seven in 10 blacks oppose “Stand Your Ground” laws, which hold that people are legally entitled to fight back with deadly force if they feel threatened, even if they could retreat instead. Most whites — 55 percent — support such laws.

— John Robinson

N.C.: We don’t need to change gun laws

North Carolina is a moderate state, despite efforts by conservatives and liberals to paint it otherwise.

Exhibit One: North Carolinians do not want state gun control laws loosened, according to the results of the latest Elon University Poll. In fact, 44% of respondents the current laws to remain unchanged, and 33% want stricter laws. Fifteen percent want less strict laws.

The relevance? The GOP-controlled General Assembly is expected to introduce legislation this month that permits people with concealed-carry permits to carry firearms into restaurants. On that issue, 56% of respondents in the Elon Poll do NOT want guns in restaurants or parks. (The General Assembly passed legislation last year to permit concealed-carry permit owners to carry firearms in parks.)

But they aren’t anti-gun by any means. Two-thirds of respondents think that gun owners should be able to keep guns locked in their cars while at work, which was also passed last year.

Nationally, according to the Pew Research Center last week, “49% of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, while 45% say it is more important to control gun ownership.”

— John Robinson

The race for N.C. governor: what’s his name?

The most obvious conclusion from the Elon University Poll on the gubernatorial race? It hasn’t really started yet.

The leading GOP candidate, Pat McCrory? Half of the respondents don’t know enough to have an opinion of him.

The Democrats? Bob Etheridge, who is probably the best known candidate, given his years as State Superintendent of Public Instruction and in Congress, gets 60% on the “don’t know” meter. Sixty-eight percent don’t know enough about Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, and 77% don’t know enough about State Rep. Bill Faison.

It’s no wonder that McCrory isn’t campaigning much. There’s no reason as he’s headed to an easy primary win and should keep his powder dry — and money saved — until after Labor Day.

But the Democrats? Yikes! A week before the poll was in the field, the Democratic candidates debated the issues and each other three times. The debates were televised. Presumably their names were fresh on voters’ minds. Seemingly few of the 640 people we polled watched or were able to draw conclusions about the candidates. Primary Day is a week away and a majority of the population doesn’t know enough about any of the Democratic candidates to have an opinion. Scary. Let’s hope that those who actually show up to vote have an idea.

Interestingly, 57% of respondents told us that they are following the primary closely. Presumably they meant the presidential primary.

— John Robinson