PPP: Sharks Bad, But Partisan Redistricting Worse

The numbers are in: more North Carolinians approve of sharks than oppose redistricting reform or background checks for gun purchases.

That’s the result of the latest state survey from Public Policy Polling. PPP pollsters asked about sharks in the wake of this summer’s spike in shark attacks. Most North Carolinians don’t have an opinion about sharks one way or another, but 15 percent say they see them favorably (versus 22 percent who don’t like them).

Compare that to our views on universal background checks for gun purchases: 86 percent of NC voters say they support them, against only 10 percent who are opposed.

North Carolinians are almost equally sold on the proposal to put a nonpartisan committee in charge of redrawing legislative district lines. More voters are undecided on this one, but those who have made up their minds are almost all in favor of it: 55 percent support nonpartisan redistricting, while only 10 percent, again, are opposed.

(According to the survey, both nonpartisan redistricting and background checks enjoy widespread support across party lines. In fact, Republican voters are less likely to oppose nonpartisan redistricting than Democrats are – even though nonpartisan redistricting would presumably benefit Democrats at a time when the GOP controls the legislature.)

PPP director Tom Jensen spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Other results from the PPP survey:

Republicans are evenly split, but in general, most North Carolinans (by a 54-28 margin) say that states should go along with Supreme Court decisions, like them or not (rather than resist, as some state and local officials are trying to do with same-sex marriage).

North Carolinians are more split on the Confederate flag: 38 percent support continuing to fly it; 48 percent are opposed.

The General Assembly remains unpopular, with only 20 percent approving – but voters disapprove of Democratic legislators just as much as Republicans. Democrats lead the generic ballot, 46-42, but that’s a smaller lead than they held at this point two years ago – and not nearly big enough to have any hope of retaking control of the GA.

And back to sharks: notwithstanding the scary headlines, the vast majority (82%) of North Carolinians who typically travel to the beach say the recent wave of shark attacks will have no impact on their travel plans. (Interestingly, there is a partisan divide here: 20 percent of Democrats say they’re less likely to go into the water, versus only 9 percent of Republicans. PPP director Tom Jensen says he has no idea why that is.)

Full details at PublicPolicyPolling.com.


Gun Control And Obey Creek Top CHTC Agenda

CHAPEL HILL- After six months of debate, the 17-member committee charged with evaluating the Obey Creek development plan for the 124 acres across from Southern Village says the project needs more study.

Monday, the Chapel Hill Town Council will review the Obey Creek Compass Committee’s report, along with recommendations from developers at East West Partners and the technical consulting team hired by the town.

All this is preparation for a vote to determine if the town should negotiate a development agreement with East West Partners to govern the long-term build-out of a mixed-use project that’s estimated to be the same size as Southpoint Mall.

Committee members argue the plans are too big and will draw traffic to an already congested thoroughfare. Although they did not suggest stopping the negotiation process altogether, they say the town should request an all-new plan that is smaller in scope and impact.

The town planning board agrees with the Compass Committee, but East West Partners and the team of consultants want the current plan to move forward instead. They say many of the concerns raised by the committee can be resolved in phase two, in which developers negotiate directly with the Council and town staff.

If the Council decides to proceed into the second phase of the negotiation process, staffers estimate it could take up to one year to draft a development agreement.

On Monday the Council will also consider amending the town’s gun laws to match new state regulations approved last July.

Under the new rules, municipalities cannot prohibit gun owners with concealed carry permits from bringing firearms to parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities or on town buses.

The proposed changes have spurred a slew of emails from concerned residents who want the current bans to stay in place, but legal advisers warn that Chapel Hill could be targeted for lawsuits if town leaders don’t comply with the new regulations.

In addition, the Council will take public comment on a proposal to extend the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction to include the Rogers Road neighborhood. If approved, this would enable the town to contribute funding for sewer service extension as part of the Rogers Road Remediation plan.

The Town Council meets at 7 o’clock at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. Click here for the full agenda.


PPP: North Carolina Voters Say No To Guns In Public Places

CHAPEL HILL-: As the state General Assembly continues to face several heated conversations about gun control, a recent poll shows that most North Carolinians of both major parties aren’t pleased about one particularly controversial proposal on the table.

The piece of legislation, formally known as House Bill 937, would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns into a variety of different environments, including college campuses, parks, and bars. But according to one Public Policy Polling survey, many local residents don’t believe firearms should be allowed in any of those places.

“We find that 73 percent of voters don’t believe there should be concealed weapons in bars, 69 percent don’t believe they belong on college campuses, and 65 percent think they should be kept out of parks,” says PPP Director Tom Jensen.

Still, earlier this month, the bill managed to pass the GOP-dominated state House by a margin of 76 to 38. But according to the poll, even Republican voters in North Carolina are against the legislation.

“What’s interesting about this issue is, elected officials have really gotten to the right of even their voters,” he says. “Because on all three of these things, we find that Republican voters are opposed.”
The survey shows that Republican North Carolinians are against guns in bars by a 25-54 margin; they’re also against guns on college campuses 40-50, Forty-six percent of Republican voters also don’t believe guns belong in parks, compared to just 42 percent who say they do.

UNC System President Tom Ross has publically spoken out against House Bill 937, saying it would increase the threat of violence on UNC System campuses. Several gun-rights advocacy radio advertisements have denounced Ross’s remarks.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that a Public Policy Polling survey has indicated favoritism toward gun control; earlier this month, one survey showed improved popularity for Senator Kay Hagan after she voted in favor of background checks for gun sales. On April 17, the U.S. Senate members, including Hagan, cast ballots on a piece of legislation that would have required background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm at a gun show or over the Internet. That bill, which was formally called the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, ultimately failed 54-46.


Hagan Sees Uptick In Popularity After Vote For Background Checks In Gun Sales

CHAPEL HILL-Senator Kay Hagan’s recent vote in support of background checks for gun sales might help her as she seeks re-election.

Public Policy Polling Tom Jensen says according to the company’s newest round of surveys, 52 percent of North Carolinians are more likely to vote for Hagan now that she voted in favor of those checks.

“Only 26 percent are less likely to, and that’s just a reflection that those background checks remain overwhelmingly popular,” he says. “Seventy-three percent of North Carolinians support them and only 22 percent are opposed.”

On April 17, the U.S. Senate members, including Hagan, cast ballots on a piece of legislation that would have required background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm at a gun show or over the Internet. The bill, which was formally called the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, ultimately failed 54-46.

Still, Jensen says most North Carolinians across party lines appear to support the idea of background checks.

“Eighty percent of democrats, 67 percent of independents and even 61 percent of Republicans support those background checks,” he says.

And Jensen adds that Hagan, who has also been vocal in her support for gay marriage, has consistently remained a favorite for re-election throughout Public Policy Polling’s surveys—even in a state that has recently been leaning toward more conservative ideals.

“In our last statewide poll, she was up anywhere from six to ten points against a variety of Republicans we tested her against,” he says. “There’s been some thought that as a senator in a state that voted for Mitt Romney and has a Republican-controlled state government, maybe it would really hurt Kay Hagan to take these more progressive stances by supporting things like gun control and gay marriage, but so far, that really isn’t the case. She’s doing just fine.”

PPP’s latest poll also found that Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is showing more favorable numbers after her vote for background checks—Forty-five percent of voters there say they’re now more likely to cast a ballot in her favor, while only 25 percent say they’re now planning to vote against her.