HB2, health care, Russian scandals, a Supreme Court nominee: these are momentous times, both for the U.S. government and for the North Carolina General Assembly.
Where do the American people (and North Carolina residents) stand on all of it?
Tom Jensen is the director of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling. On healthcare, Jensen says the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) is extremely unpopular: Democrats and independents are nearly unanimously opposed, and even Republicans are split. (PPP’s latest national survey showed only 24 percent of Americans support the AHCA. A more recent poll this week showed support at only 17 percent.) Worse for Republican leaders, the current system (Obamacare) is increasingly popular, with a plurality of Americans now supporting it. Given the choice between Obamacare and the AHCA, Obamacare wins by a 49-29 margin. (In fairness, though, Jensen says we’d likely see similar results for any new plan – Trumpcare, universal Medicare, or anything else – because Americans are very concerned about the health-care issue and skeptical of new, untested ideas.)
The news is better for Republicans when it comes to the Supreme Court – not because Americans approve of Neil Gorsuch, but rather because Americans simply don’t care. Jensen says most Americans have no opinion on Gorsuch’s confirmation – mainly because we don’t follow the Supreme Court or know any of the justices. (A recent survey found only 14 percent of Americans could name Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a Supreme Court justice – and of the eight current justices, she was the one with the HIGHEST name recognition.)
In North Carolina, Jensen says public opinion is still strongly against HB2, with only about a third of residents in favor and a majority opposed. Most North Carolinians say the bill has done nothing to make residents safer, but it has hurt the state’s reputation and economy.
Observers say opposition to HB2 is stronger in North Carolina’s larger cities, which have been harder-hit by the boycotts and cancellations (and tend to have more Democratic voters in the first place). But Jensen says HB2 isn’t especially popular anywhere: even in more heavily Republican rural districts, voters are evenly divided at best.
Tom Jensen spoke Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.
Finally, when it comes to the matter of Russia, collusion, spying, and leaking, Jensen says public opinion is shifting as information is still coming to light. But PPP’s last survey found that 63 percent of Americans want an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election – a significant increase from previous surveys.
And even though the facts on Russia are only just beginning to emerge, Jensen says 44 percent of Americans already believe Trump should be impeached. (Forty-five percent are opposed.) That’s a higher percentage in favor of impeachment, Jensen says, than at any time during Bill Clinton’s scandal – even when the House was actively in the process of impeaching him.