Elon, Meredith and HPU polls offer insight into mindset of voters ahead of next week’s election

With elections looming next week, a trio of North Carolina-based polls released this week give insight into the mood of the electorate, voters’ top concerns and how confident they are in the elections themselves.

The national economy continues to be a top issue for voters and the latest Elon University Poll, conducted Oct. 26 and 27,  found most North Carolina voters giving it low marks.

Asked to give the  current national economy a grade from A to F, a quarter of respondents gave it the lowest grade – up from 16 percent when the poll asked the same question two years ago. The largest number of respondents said they would give it a “C” while just three percent said they would give the economy an “A” – down from 7 percent two years ago.

 

Asked about their personal financial situations, 55 percent of respondents said it has gotten worse since 2020. Just 14 percent said it has gotten better.

The vast majority of respondents – 75 percent – said the national economy has gotten worse since 2020.

The poll found respondents tend to favor Republicans over Democrats on economic issues. Though President Joe Biden isn’t on the ballot this year, voters’ view on his culpability for the state of the economy and inflation could spell trouble for his fellow Democrats, said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science.

“Few North Carolina voters rate the economy highly, and four out of five say inflation is negatively affecting them personally,” Husser said in a statement on the poll results. “A majority of voters think President Biden is at least somewhat responsible for inflation, and more voters favor the Republican Party over the Democratic Party on the economy as an issue. These findings combined with the historical importance of the economy on midterm elections portend trouble for Democrats on the ballot in North Carolina.”

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HPU poll: North Carolinians express low trust in most institutions, people

North Carolinians are feeling low levels of trust in most institutions – government and otherwise – and even in each other, according to a new poll from High Point University.

The poll, taken though online interviews from Aug. 18 -25, found exceptionally low levels of trust in the federal government with just 7 percent saying they have a great deal of trust in Congress and 11 percent saying the same of the presidency. The U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Bureau of Investigation did not score dramatically higher, at 13 and 17 % respectively. Only 8 percent of respondents said they almost always trust the government to do what is right. Just one in five (19%) said they trust the federal government most of the time, while nearly a quarter (23%) said they never trust it.

“The HPU Poll tested how North Carolinians have different ideas about the government in Washington,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor, in a statement released with the results. “And this poll shows that a majority of respondents trust the government in Washington only some of the time.”

But the levels of trust were low for a variety of non-governmental institutions as well, including banks and public schools (both 14%) and the church or organized religion (19%).

Respondents in the poll also didn’t express much trust in each other. Just over a quarter (28%) said most people can be trusted while nearly three-quarters (72%) said you need to be careful in dealing with people.

Get the full results of the poll and information on methodology here.

New HPU Poll looks at NC views on largest problems, inflation, price increases

A new High Point University Poll released this week gives insight into how North Carolinians view inflation, rising prices on everything from food to gas and who they feel is most to blame.

The poll, conducted March 18 – March 31, found inflation to be the issue respondents found most important, with 70 percent saying they consider it “very important.” Education and jobs were tied for the second most important issue, with 69 percent saying each of those issues was most important. Health care and crime rounded out the top five, with 67 and 64 percent respectively saying they think the issues is “very important.”


“Inflation has become a top concern among citizens because of what has been happening in the economy,” said Dr. Jerry Fox, interim chair for HPU’s Department of Economics, in a statement on the poll results. “Annual inflation in the U.S. climbed dramatically from 2.7 percent to 8.6 percent over the past year from March 2021 to March 2022. Interestingly, over the same time period, U.S. unemployment declined from 6.0 percent to 3.6 percent. Prices have shot up while joblessness has fallen.”

By a very narrow margin, respondents in the poll said they believe President Joe Biden is most responsible for inflation. While 45 percent of respondents said Biden deserves “a lot” of the blame for current levels of inflation, 45 percent said the same of Russia. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said Russia deserves “some” blame, while 22 percent said the same of Biden.

 

When asked about the prices they are currently paying for a number of consumer products, gas for their car was the item for which respondents most reported paying a much higher price. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they were paying a much higher price for gas while 61 percent said the same of meat and 50 percent said the same of natural gas.

But those responses don’t tell the whole story.

“We asked North Carolinians how the increase in gas prices are affecting their household, and a majority told us it has affected them a lot,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll, in a statement on the results.. “However when it comes to natural gas, these same North Carolinians said that if gas prices rise because the U.S. stops imports from Russia, a majority told us that it is worth the rising costs.”

The full survey, results and methodology can be found here.