May 22, 2020

Yesterday we looked at future events and activities and whether North Carolinians think they should proceed as planned or be cancelled.

Today we’re going to dig into the impact of COVID-19 on North Carolinians, how our citizens view the impact on our state economy, and look at how they think about possible solutions.

When asked “If you had to pick only one, would you say the Coronavirus here in North Carolina has created more of a health crisis or an economic crisis?,” 60% said it was an economic crisis while 33% said it was a health crisis.

Interestingly, when asked a follow-up question, “when you think a few months ahead to the fall, which one of the following concerns you most?,” 51% said public health concerns and the spread of the virus concerned them, while 42% said the economic impact, job and business losses concerned them the most.

Another question many people have wondered about: “Have you or someone you know personally in North Carolina been infected with the Coronavirus?” and the follow-up question, “And, did you or the person you know with Coronavirus make a healthy recovery or not?”

1% of those polled had been infected with the virus, 31% knew someone personally with it, while 67% said “No” to knowing someone with COVID-19. 8% of those surveyed knew someone who did not or had not recovered from COVID-19.  That’s a total of 9% of North Carolina voters who had direct impact or knew someone who didn’t recover from the virus.

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We then asked, “Have you, a family member living in your household, or someone you know been laid off or lost a job permanently, or had your hours or pay reduced as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, or not?”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents, 63% said they personally, someone in their home, or someone they knew had been laid off by the state’s shutdown.

Another interesting question asked, “As you may know, Governor Cooper recently extended, with a few small exceptions, the shutdown order on businesses, churches and restaurants and the stay-at-home order on North Carolina’s citizens through the end of May. Do you support or oppose Governor Cooper’s extension of the shutdown and stay-at-home order?”

70% of the respondents responded “Yes,” with 36% of Base Republican voters and 73% of Unaffiliated voters supporting the shutdown.

The next question is a bit puzzling: “In North Carolina over the last two months the coronavirus has infected about fifteen thousand people and killed around five hundred people. Over the last two months over one million two hundred thousand North Carolinians have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment, raising the unemployment rate to around fifteen percent.  Knowing this, do you tend to agree or disagree with the following statement: Governor Cooper’s shutdown order was an overreaction to the health threat of coronavirus and did unnecessary, serious, and long-lasting damage to North Carolina’s economy.”

In spite of voters’ earlier concerns about the economy, two-thirds were not willing to say the Governor’s shutdown was wrong – with 50% of respondents strongly disagreeing.

When asked who did voters trust to get North Carolina’s economy back on track the answers were interesting.  Two questions were asked: “And, after the coronavirus outbreak passes, who do you trust more to rebuild North Carolina’s economy between Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, or the Republican State Legislature?”  47% said Governor Cooper, compared to 40% who said the state legislature.

Then, “And thinking about here in North Carolina, which party do you trust more to get North Carolina’s economy going again after the Coronavirus outbreak passes?” 48% of the respondents said Republicans, while 40% said Democrats.

Nobody ever said North Carolina voters had to be consistent. Apparently the message has resonated with NC voters how the reform majority in the legislature has put aside money for troubled times like now in a Rainy Day Fund and has a strong record of keeping taxes low which helps create jobs – important factors in restoring the state’s economy.

See the complete topline here and crosstabs here.