December 16, 2021

An ABC national poll last week showed approval of President Joe Biden continuing to falter nationally with Americans – having an overall approval rating of only 43% for the President.

The economy continues to be THE issue.  More than two-thirds of Americans (69%) disapproved of Biden’s handling of inflation – while 57% disapproved of his handling of the economic recovery.

Here in North Carolina, the Carolina Partnership for Reform conducted a poll in late November that showed Biden’s approval ratings even worse:  53% Unfavorable to only 39% Favorable among NC likely voters.  This is a precipitous drop from our February 2021 poll that showed Biden with a 46%-45% Favorable to Unfavorable rating.

Our poll showed Governor Roy Cooper had a 48-35 Favorable rating.  And in our typical test of legislators’ standing, the generic ballot asking “Would you support the Democrat or Republican legislator if the election were held today, Republicans were on the plus side 46% to 42%.  An interesting factor there was that Unaffiliated voters have moved from 29% in our February poll to 45% today when considering which party they would choose to vote for in a legislative candidate.

On the issues, the CPRNC poll showed some interesting outcomes.

ECONOMY.  By far, the most important issue to voters was the economy – with 51% of Republicans saying that and 45% of Unaffiliateds.  The next biggest issue that registered was Health Care at a distant 10% with Republicans, 18 percent with Unaffiliateds and 25% with Democrats.

When asked if the state was worse this past year, 48% said it had gotten worse.  With Unaffiliateds, 55% said it was worse.  When asked if their personal situation had gotten worse, 40% said it was worse – with 43% of Unaffiliateds saying their personal situation was worse.

TAX CUTS.  When asked, “Do you support or oppose the recent tax cut for North Carolina families and small businesses that makes the first $25,000 of a family’s income tax-free, increases the child tax credit by $500 per child, and reduces the income tax rate from 5.25% to 3.99%?” 74% of likely NC voters said they support the recent tax cut.  With Unaffiliated voters, 67% said they supported it.

EDUCATION.  When asked if they were “More or less satisfied with the public school’s job in educating our school children, 49% said they were Less Satisfied with only 20% saying they were More Satisfied.  An interesting factoid when looking deeper in the numbers showed 57% of Unaffiliated voters were Less Satisfied, while 55% of white women who had graduated from college or had higher degrees were Less Satisfied.

When asked “Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides $5,900 scholarships to working and middle class families making under $85,000 a year so they can choose to send their child to a private school if they believe their local public school doesn’t meet their child’s needs?” 62% of likely NC voters supported Opportunity Scholarships – a direct repudiation of Governor Cooper – who has wanted to eliminate the program from the state budget.

MEDICAID EXPANSION.  When asked about expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, voters supported it 68%-23% – exactly the same numbers we saw in 2020.  It appears there is growing acceptance of Medicaid expansion in recent years since few people today call it Obamacare.

VOTER ID.  When asked if voters should be required to show photo ID to vote, support was an overwhelming 79%-16% for voter ID.  Interestinly, this number is significantly higher that our poll in 2020, when support was at 63%-36%.  Where did the changes come from?  Unaffiliated voters supported it at 80%.  Democrats moved up to supporting it at 62% and African-Americans shifted from only 35% in February 2021 to 68% today.

LAW AND ORDER.  There was overwhelming opposition for defunding police departments. We asked the question, “Thinking about your local police department…Do you support or oppose defunding your local police department?”  63% Opposed Defunding, while 30% Supported Defunding.  Among Unaffiliated voters, the count was 72 Opposed, while 20% Supported.  Another interesting demographic segment: white women with a college degree or higher registered 72% opposition to defunding policy departments.

These are just a few insights from the poll.  To see more issues and observations on public policy and the political atmosphere in North Carolina, go to our Carolina Partnership for Reform website – under Research.

The “bottom line” main message is that NC voters are absolutely focused right now on the economy and inflation.  It will be interesting to see if anything or anyone can get them off that focus.