Gay marriage opposition

Gay marriage may be gaining traction in some states but not in North Carolina, according to the Elon Poll.

Fifty percent of registered voters in N.C. oppose making gay marriage legal. Forty percent support it. In 2012, voters approved a constitutional amendment 60%-39% prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Digging into the numbers:

Politics: The largest divide — 48% of Democrats and 47% of Independents support making gay marriage legal, compared with only 22% of Republicans.

Gender: 41% of women and 39% of men support it.

Race: 41% of whites and 36% of African Americans support it.

Age: Predictably, the highest level of support, 56%, comes from the 18-30 age group. The lowest, 26%, from the 65+ age group.

— John Robinson

N.C. opposes legalizing marijuana

Legalized marijuana is in its infancy out west. Don’t expect it to come into North Carolina any time soon, if the politicians pay attention to the Elon Poll results.

Fifty-one percent of respondents oppose legalizing marijuana versus 39% who support it.

Digging deeper into the numbers:

Politics: 43% of Democrats, 47% of Independents and just 23% of Republicans support legalization. Not surprising.

Gender: 46% of men and 32% of women support legalization. If anyone can explain that, have at it.

Race: 39% of whites and 36% of African Americans support legalization. Finally, an issue not divided by race!

Age: If it were left up to  the 18-30 age group, marijuana would be legalized. 54% support it. But it declines in each age group as they get older.

Tillis is gaining name recognition

Rep. Thom Tillis is speaker of the N.C. House and helped led a dramatic right turn in North Carolina politics last year. He is running for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate, hoping to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan in November.

He has a ways to go, according to the Elon Poll.

Most registered voters in North Carolina (58%) said they don’t recognize his name. And of the 38% who do, only 18% have a favorable impression of him. The good news for Tillis is that in November, 70% of registered voters didn’t recognize his name. (Tillis has run television ads for the past month or so.)

Digging into the numbers:

Politics: Republicans are most familiar with Tillis’s name at 43%, followed by Independents, 37%, and Democrats, 36%. And 29% of the Republicans who know his name have a favorable impression of him, compared with 19% of Independents and 6% of Democrats.

Gender: Men are more familiar with him than women, 42% to 35%. In addition, 23% of the men have a favorable impression; only 13% of women do.

Race: Whites are more familiar with him than African Americans, 43% to 26%. In addition, 21% of the whites have a favorable impression of him; only 7% of African Americans do.

Age: He is best known by the 65-and-up crowd, 57%, but they aren’t the ones who think most favorably of him. Only 19% of the 65+ age group has a good impression of him. 28% of the 31-40 age group does.

It’s still too early to make any predictions. Tillis has to get past the GOP primary before the political battle really begins. It’s also an age-old political truism that voters don’t start  paying any attention to political races until after Labor Day. That gives Tillis time to become more visible and viable as a statewide candidate.

— John Robinson



Sen. Hagan’s support slips

Sen. Kay Hagan, facing what is expected to be a tough re-election battle this fall, is also facing slipping job approval numbers. In the latest Elon Poll, only 33% of registered voters said they approved of how she is handling her job; 47% disapproved.

In November, 37% said they approved of her.

Worse for Hagan: she is losing support among key constituencies — Democrats and women.

Digging into the numbers;

Politics: She has the approval of 55% of Democrats, 30% of Independents and 12% of Republicans. In November, the breakout was 63% of Democrats, 32% of Independents and 13% of Republicans.

Gender: Statistically equal. 34% of men and 33% of women approve of her work. In November, 40% of women had her back. (Male support is unchanged.) That is likely a serious concern in the Hagan camp. It is likely she can win back the support of Democrats once the Republican nominee is chosen. Women, however, should be a strong base of support and she cannot allow that to erode.

Race: 57% of African Americans approve of her compared with 26% of whites. In November, it was 53% and 31%.

Age: Her greatest support is in the 18-30 age group at 40%. Her least support (27%) is in the 31-40 age group.

Hagan has been hammered about her support of the Affordable Care Act in statewide television ads since the beginning of the year. Rep. Thom Tillis, the speaker of the N.C. House and a Republican candidate for her Senate seat, has aired his own ads criticizing her.

Her numbers will likely go up after the GOP primary in May. She — and voters — will know who both candidates are and can begin comparing. She also will be able to sharpen her focus in political ads.

For comparison purposes, her approval rating is the same as her GOP counterpart, Sen. Richard Burr. However, only 31% of registered voters said they disapproved of Burr’s performance and 35% said they didn’t know. (Burr is not up for re-election this year.)

— John Robinson

Gov. McCrory’s approval rate moves up slightly

Back in September after the end of the controversial legislative changes made in Raleigh, Gov. Pat McCrory’s job approval rate was 36%. It dropped to 33% in November.

In the latest Elon Poll, it’s back to 36%. (Perhaps the most striking number is that 21% of registered voters said they don’t know if they approve of how the governor is handling his job.)

Digging into the numbers:

Politics: 59% of Republicans approve of him, compared with 35% of Independents and 17% of Democrats. Since November, he has lost support from Republicans and gained it from Independents.

Gender: 40% of men support him and 31% of women. After a drop in support among men in November, it bounced back last month. Female support has remained consistent.

Race: 39% of whites support him and 18% of African Americans. Since November, he has won back a chunk of support from black registered voters. Then, only 12% of African Americans approved of him. White support has remained generally consistent.

Age: His greatest support — 40% — comes from the 41-50 age group. His greatest disapproval rate — 47% — comes from the 31-40 and 51-65 age groups.

Across the board, McCrory seems to be in the process of recovering from November’s numbers. If he is as thin-skinned as some political commentators suggest, he can’t be happy with his low numbers. It is worth considering, though, that all politicians we polled about have approval numbers in the 30’s. That’s unlikely to change for any of them, given unemployment and the partisan divide.


President Obama’s approval rating has stabilized

President Obama has stabilized his approval rating in North Carolina. Sadly for him, it is stabilized at 39% in the latest Elon Poll. Fifty-one percent disapprove of how he is doing his job.

A year ago, his approval rating was close to 50%. It has dropped ever since. In November, it was 37%. In September, it was 38%.

The only solace he can find in the numbers is that they aren’t lower. His approval rating is higher than Gov. Pat McCrory’s, Sen. Kay Hagan’s and Sen. Richard Burr’s.

Digging into the numbers:

Politics — The partisan divide is stark and huge. 81% of Democrats approve of how he’s doing his job compared with 28% of Independents and just 4% of Republicans. Since November, he has gained support among Democrats but lost it among Independents. Republican support – or lack of it – has remained the same.

Gender — 42% of women and 36% of men approve of his work. Since November, he has gained a bit of support among women, but it is within the 3% margin of error.

Race — 79% of African Americans give him a thumbs up, but only 27% of whites. Since November, he has gained back some of the support from both groups.

Obama’s approval rating in North Carolina is in line with the rest of the country. People are still suspicious of the Affordable Health Care Act, and suspicious is a generous term to use. Around the edges, the NSA spying scandal and the concern over unemployment still linger. Many political analysts predict Democrats to lose seats in the mid-term elections — Sen. Kay Hagan’s numbers are tanking in N.C.

Hagan’s approval numbers drop

Our February poll results are in. Here is the headline:

Only one-third of North Carolina registered voters approve of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s job performance, her lowest rating in a year.

Hagan was the only politician in the poll whose job approval rating dropped since November. President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat McCrory and Sen. Richard Burr all achieved at least modest gains. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they disapproved of Hagan’s job performance, her worst rating in a year.

Here is more detail on the poll. I’ll be breaking it out over the next day or so.

Elon poll in the news

News & Record — U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s approval ratings fell to their lowest level in a year.

WRAL — While President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr all saw slight improvements in voters’ rating of their job performance in the latest Elon University Poll, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan continued a year-long slide.

News & Observer — Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s approval ratings have worsened since November: 33 percent of registered voters approve of how she’s handling the job, and nearly 49 percent disapprove, according to a new Elon University poll released on Monday.

Times-News — Only one-third of North Carolina registered voters approve of Sen. Kay Hagan job performance, her lowest rating in a year, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Triad Business Journal — Sen. Kay Hagan, the North Carolina Democrat who is up for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014, has seen her job approval slip in the latest Elon Poll of North Carolina voters.
Breitbart — North Carolina Freshman Senator Kay Hagan is one of the most vulnerable Senators running for reelection this year. Her challenge to winning reelection is evidenced by a new poll from Elon University showing that just one-third of Tarheel voters approve of her job performance.

Elon Poll in the news

The New York Times’ story on Art Pope and N.C. politics:

“Lawmakers cut corporate taxes and aid to the jobless, refused the federal expansion of Medicaid and froze teacher salaries, dropping the state close to the bottom in teacher pay nationally. Support for the governor and legislature declined in polls. Governor McCrory’s approval rating was at 33 percent and the General Assembly was below 32 percent in an Elon University poll of registered voters in November.

“In a finding that might alarm business interests, 43 percent said North Carolina’s image as a good place to live had deteriorated, compared with 21 percent who thought it had improved.”

Elon Poll in the news


Charlotte Observer: “Government leaders will surely be encouraged to keep things secret if the public is so indifferent about having access to its own business. Secrecy and transparency constantly battle in government, and secrecy will win out if the public and press don’t vigorously fight for their right to know. North Carolinians’ ignorance on this issue could come back to haunt them.”

Elon Pendulum: “As the Internet has grown, so has the ability of Americans to access information quickly and easily. But according to the latest Elon University Poll, a majority of North Carolinians are unaware of how many government documents are open to the public.”

Burlington Times- News: “A majority of North Carolina residents are unaware that state laws exist to make public records and government meetings accessible, according to the findings of an Elon University poll released Wednesday.”

Burlington Times-News: “Welcome to North Carolina, where we don’t trust the government but don’t really care what it does when we’re not looking. And, now, those of us who do care have to pay to find out — if we find out at all.”

Burlington Times-News: “To we who work daily with the First Amendment and use public records to inform our readers, reading the poll was scarier than a Stephen King novel or a George Orwell prophecy.”

Salisbury Post:  “Dart to citizens’ lack of information about requirements for government to be open and transparent. A recent Elon University poll indicated two-thirds of North Carolinians aren’t aware the state has “sunshine laws’’ requiring many records and government meetings be accessible to all residents. So long as citizens are unaware of their rights in this area — and don’t exercise those rights — some public officials will be more emboldened to ignore sunshine requirements.”

WRAL: “A slight majority of North Carolina residents say the public shouldn’t have to pay to obtain copies of government records, according to a poll released Wednesday.”

News & Observer: “The majority of North Carolinians – 65 percent – are unaware that the state has “sunshine laws” that require certain records and government meetings be available to all residents, according to an Elon University poll.”

Business Journal: “Almost two-thirds of North Carolina residents don’t know there is a state law making many government documents and records available to citizens, according to a new Elon University Poll.”

Fayetteville Observer: “A new Elon University poll suggests almost two-thirds of North Carolinians don’t know about the sunshine laws that make many government records public.”

Huffington Post

Asheville Citizen-Times:  “The business taxpayers are funding should be public record, and there are in fact laws saying so; but if the citizenry isn’t aware of this, it’s something of a moot point.”

Voter Update:  “An Elon Poll released in late November revealed what many voters have already long known—people are fed up with politicians. Every major elected official polled by Elon had negative approval ratings from the voters of North Carolina. And that crosses party lines, too. From Democrats Barack Obama and Kay Hagan to Republicans Pat McCrory and Richard Burr, voters are not happy with the people in power.”