It’s been a year since the coronavirus – COVID-19 – struck in North Carolina. Soon after, Governor Roy Cooper began implementing shutdown measures in North Carolina to stop the spread of the disease as fears of a worldwide pandemic became reality.
The degree to which these shutdown measures impacted North Carolina’s businesses and schools and how that affected North Carolina’s families became a public policy issue. The economy tanked. Schools were closed and after months of in-home learning for most school-age children, concerns arose about their emotional well-being.
Last year, we asked North Carolina voters varying poll questions about the shutdown’s effect on their daily lives. In May and June, 2020, we had asked voters their opinion on whether they would agree that the shutdown had been positive or negative: “Overall the shutdown orders were a positive with the health benefits outweighing the job losses and economic damage. …or… Overall the shutdown orders were a negative with the job losses and economic damage outweighing the health benefits. In May, 60% of the voters said it was Positive, and 33% said it was a Negative. In late October, 51% said it was Positive and 43% said it was Negative.
Now, in our most recent poll taken the last week in February, the results were a dead heat at 46%-46% Positive and Negative.
The next question deals with Governor Cooper’s authority to issue shutdown orders in an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, and more specifically how long does that emergency power last without some sort of check or oversight from the other two branches of government.
If you remember, as the shutdown continued on and on, some members of the service industry like restaurants, bars, barber shops and hair salons and many others felt the pain and loudly voiced their complaints, wondering how long the Governor could keep using emergency powers. Voters seem to understand the dangers of a Governor having the power to declare emergency powers indefinitely, with 57% of those polled saying there should be a time limit on those powers.
Finally, the recent CPR survey asked voters how they think the Cooper administration has handled distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. Respondees had a positive response with 56% saying they Approved of the distribution so far. Thank the good Lord we’re finally in the vaccine phase and there’s hope ahead that this COVID crisis may soon be behind us.