NC Not As Southern As Some May Think

RALEIGH – During the past year, the new republican congress of North Carolina has proposed many bills that some claim are making North Carolina less progressive and taking steps backwards.  Public Policy Polling conducted a poll based around culture and found North Carolina is not as “deep south” or “redneck” as many people think.

PPP analyst Jim Williams says that some icons of the South are falling in popularity.

“We found that only 32 percent of North Carolinians consider themselves to be NASCAR fans,” ” Williams said.”Only 17 percent like tobacco, and only 14 percent say they like moonshine.”

Other staple icons still remain popular in the state though.  Williams sayas sweet tea had 63 percent of people saying they like it.  Although not as high as some would expect from a southern state, it is still popular.

And, Williams says that North Carolina based donuts, Krispy Kreme, continue to win over Dunkin Donuts in popularity.

“Absolutely, 74 percent said they like Krispy Kreme donuts,” Williams claims. “When we asked folks, what do they like better, Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme wins by 49 points, 67 to eighteen.”

To see the poll, click here.

PPP: McCrory’s Approval Down, Hagan’s Up

RALEIGH – After a month of national attention on your state, Public Policy Polling released a new poll showing Governor Pat McCrory’s approval rating among voters and the numbers are not favorable.

Fifty-one percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the job Gov. McCrory is doing, with 39 percent approving. In addition, 52 percent of respondents oppose the state’s recent budget, with 33 percent supporting its passage.

PPP director, Tom Jensen, says he believes the disapproval for the governor is coming more from a growing, general disdain than for anything specific like the budget.

“Probably less than the specifics of the budget, what these numbers reflect is that voters are just generally in a bad mood,” Jensen says.

Fifty percent of voters in the PPP poll say they believe that Gov. McCrory broke his promise to not sign any new abortion legislation and 57 percent also said the governor’s move to give cookies to pro-choice protesters who showed up at his home was inappropriate.

Jensen says that North Carolinians are reacting negatively to the passage of the abortion bill, but not necessarily because of objections to the bill’s contents.

“Voters are not, I think, necessarily reacting negatively so much to the actual content of the legislation. It’s really just not liking the process,” Jensen says.

PPP’s poll also found that the Moral Monday protests have a favorable opinion among voters, with 49 percent approving and 35 percent disapproving. Jensen says that the protesters were polling negatively when the rallies started, but the General Assembly’s bad image has pushed them forward.

“I think that’s just a reflection of the fact that voters are so unhappy with the General Assembly that they’re glad that somebody is going out there and speaking out against them and standing up to them,” Jensen says.

The General Assembly’s approval ratings continue to be low in the poll, as PPP found that 50 percent of respondents say they would vote Democratic if there was an election for the legislature now.

With both of the potential Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in the state, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger, coming from the legislature, Jensen says this could benefit incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, who has a 49-percent approval rating and a 48-percent disapproval rating.

“If I was the GOP, I’d be thinking about maybe trying to find a different candidate who’s not such an establishment politician,” Jensen says.

In PPP surveys this week, Hagan beats both Tillis and Berger by eight points.

PPP Polls on John Edwards, New York Times, More

RALEIGH – If you’ve ever wondered what your fellow North Carolinians think about John Edwards, the New York Times and judicial oversight, Public Policy Polling has you covered.

In its recent survey of North Carolina voters, PPP found that 67 percent of residents say they would never vote for former Senator John Edwards again. Sen. Edwards, who was once the Democratic party’s Vice Presidential candidate, received backlash after it was revealed that he had a lengthy affair while his wife had cancer.

Jim Williams, a polling analyst with PPP, explains why Sen. Edwards can do so poorly in North Carolina while other scandal-riddled politicians like former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner and former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer can continue their political life.

Williams says that not only do states like New York have a different moral tolerance than North Carolina, but Sen. Edwards himself was held in higher esteem in his home state.

“He was sort of representing North Carolina on a national stage before he had his fall from grace,” Williams says. “I think there’s a certain level of embarrassment among North Carolinians when it comes to John Edwards.”

On the subject of embarrassment, PPP also asked North Carolinians how you feel about the New York Times. While this was not included in the question, the New York Times’ editorial board ran a piece titled “The Decline of North Carolina” on July 9, criticizing the General Assembly.

Williams says that while the survey found an almost even split between people who favored, disfavored and had no opinion on the paper, he says the ideological split the poll found between Democrats who favored it and Republicans who disfavored it is likely no different anywhere else in the country.

“It has a reputation of being favored and enjoyed by liberals and dismissed and disliked by conservatives,” Williams says.

Support among North Carolinians for expanded background checks is at 78 percent. While incredibly high, the level of support for background checks in the state is actually lower than in previous polls, which Williams says is a result of issues dealing with gun control not being in the news lately.

“That’s just simply a function of time passing since a major gun tragedy, a major gun shooting somewhere in the United States,” Williams says. “But it’s still overwhelming support.”

Another issue that a majority of North Carolinians stand together on at 52 percent is the Supreme Court overturning Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, with majority displeasure across party lines. Williams says this support for the VRA comes from its storied history.

“People see it as a cornerstone of the Civil Rights movement and you’re not going to see too many people say they don’t agree with what the Civil Rights movement was trying to do,” Williams says.

Congress is currently taking up Section Five of the Voting Rights Act and seeing if it can be re-written to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, but Williams says that, with the level of discord in both the House and Senate, it’s unlikely that it will get passed any time soon.