The latest edition of The Meredith Poll, conducted by Meredith College, found North Carolinians are enthusiastic about voting on November 6, but they are also not well informed about the state’s proposed constitutional amendments.
The Meredith Poll found great enthusiasm for voting across the board, without an enthusiasm gap favoring Democrats, as has been predicted in some states. More than 80% of respondents indicated it was “almost certain” or very “probable” that they would vote this year. Just more than 78% of unaffiliated voters indicated it was highly likely they would vote, as compared to just over 81% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats.
“There appears to be a great deal of enthusiasm among North Carolina voters as we get closer to early voting and Election Day. As opposed to the popular narrative that Democrats have an enthusiasm gap in 2018, Republican and unaffiliated voters appear equally enthusiastic this year,” said Meredith College Professor of Political Science David McLennan, director of The Meredith Poll.
On a generic ballot, respondents favored Democratic candidates for Congress and state legislative races.
“Voters seem to favor Democratic candidates for Congressional and legislative seats,” McLennan said. “The generic ballot favors Democratic candidates by approximately five percent in the state, while Democratic legislative candidates are favored by almost nine percentage points.”
N.C. Constitutional Amendments
For the first time in the lifetimes of most of the people voting, there are six constitutional issues on the North Carolina ballot. The amendments cover the following topics: Voter ID, a cap on the state income tax, protection of hunting and fishing, assisting victims of crime, and two that, if passed, shift the power to appoint replacement judges and many positions on appointed boards and commissions from the governor to the legislature.
A large majority of North Carolinians claim to know very little about the content of the amendments they will support or reject. Five-in-ten voters indicated they were somewhat unfamiliar or very unfamiliar (26.6%), with the remainder refusing to answer the question, often because they had not heard or read anything related to the amendments being on the ballot.
“Voters in the state know very little about the substance of the constitutional amendments on the ballot with approximately ten percent of voters having a ‘great deal of knowledge’ about the content of all six amendments with more than 60 percent having little or no knowledge,” said McLennan. “In terms other specific amendments, North Carolinians favor the Voter ID amendment by a large margin, reflecting the long standing belief among most citizens that showing identification at the polls is necessary to protect the integrity of the voting process.”
Support for two amendments that would give the legislature more powers, at the expense of the governor, in appointing replacement judges and boards and commissions, is mixed.
“The two amendments that would remove some of the powers of the governor gets the support of a plurality of voters, but nowhere near the 50 percent needed to approve the amendments,” McLennan said.
Support and opposition to these amendments comes from voters from both political parties, as well as unaffiliated voters, meaning that advocates on both sides of the constitutional issues may have challenges in campaigning for their respective positions.
Opinions on Political Figures
The Meredith Poll also asked voters to gauge their approval of those currently in office.
President Donald Trump, members of Congress and the N.C. General Assembly are “under water” in approval ratings. Trump, however, has higher approval in N.C. than many other states with 44.2% of North Carolinians saying they strongly approve or somewhat approve of him.
Governor Roy Cooper has strongest approval ratings with 46.9 respondents saying their either strongly or somewhat approve. Lt. Governor Dan Forest is “above water,” although most voters (53.3%) don’t know who he is.
About The Meredith Poll
The Meredith College Poll conducted a mixed mode sample of North Carolinians (200 live caller respondents and 550 email respondents) to registered North Carolina voters from August 25-30, 2018. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4%. Meredith College students administer the survey as part of the College’s commitment to civic engagement.