by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
New Civitas Poll reveals skepticism for the president in North Carolina
RALEIGH — Worry over President Biden’s agenda is palpable in North Carolina and includes a sizable percentage of the president’s fellow Democrats. Nearly six of 10 North Carolina voters likely to cast a ballot in 2022 are concerned the Biden administration will do too much to increase the size and role of government, according to a new Civitas Poll. That includes 27% of Democrats, 56% of unaffiliated voters, and 97% of Republicans. Nearly half – 49% – are very concerned. Twenty-five percent are not concerned at all. A razor-thin 2% are unsure.
That’s just the beginning of the president’s troubles.
Nervousness crosses age lines as well. More than half of every demographic over the age of 35 expresses concern about how big and imposing government could become during a Biden presidency. The older the voter, the greater the apprehension. Among those 35 to 49, 57% are uneasy. The number jumps to 64% among those 50 to 64, topping out at 67% among those 65 and older. Even 33% of 18-to-34-year-olds are concerned.
A majority of North Carolina voters also believe the country is on the wrong track – 55% – according to poll results. Only 39% believe the United States is headed in the right direction. That’s a 16-point gulf, one that has widened since the spring Civitas Poll. In March, 52% selected wrong track and 42% selected right direction.
Despite the worrisome data, opinion is evenly split on President Biden’s overall job performance: 48% approve while 49% disapprove. Strong disapproval sits at 45%. Strong approval is 12 points lower, at 33%.
“President Biden is earning middling marks with North Carolina voters, with a fairly even approval rating,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “The fact that a majority of likely voters are concerned that the Biden administration will do too much to increase the size of government in the U.S. likely has a cooling effect on his job approval.”
North Carolina voters give higher marks to Gov. Roy Cooper. When asked to assess the job he’s doing as governor, 53% approve and 41% disapprove. That’s a 4-point increase in approval for the governor over the March Civitas Poll results, when 49% approved and 46% disapproved.
In the General Assembly, the poll shows Republicans maintaining their within-the-margin-of-error lead over Democrats as the 2022 election looms. Forty-eight percent would vote for a Republican legislative candidate if the election were held today – up from 46% in March. Forty-four percent would choose a Democrat for the legislature, down from 46% in March.
As the General Assembly considers a variety of amendments to the North Carolina Constitution, the Civitas Poll reveals substantial support for two of the ideas. First, nearly two out of three – 64% – support an amendment that says the right to work cannot be denied based on whether a person is, or isn’t, a member of a labor organization. Second, 56% approve of adding a Taxpayer Bill of Rights to the constitution that would limit the growth of state spending to inflation plus population growth.
Bryson continued, “Support for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the state constitution is strong across the state, but especially in the Charlotte media market, at 62%. We also see support spike above 60% among men, 50-to-64-year-olds, conservatives, and low-propensity voters. This amendment would be difficult to defeat on the ballot.”
Full results will be analyzed Thursday, May 13, at noon via live-stream on the John Locke Foundation’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website. Bryson will host the event, with analysis from Professor Christopher Cooper of Western Carolina University.
Methodology: The survey was conducted May 6-8, 2021, by Harper Polling, a Cygnal company. It surveyed 600 likely 2022 general election voters and has a margin of error of +/-4.0%. Known registered voters were interviewed via live phones, SMS, and email invitation. This survey is weighted to likely 2022 general election voter universe.