by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
RALEIGH – Concern about the future looms in North Carolina voters’ minds, according to the latest Civitas Poll. As President Joe Biden’s job approval hangs at 39% and pain over inflation hits American wallets, investments, and gas tanks, the public struggles to find confidence that things will improve over the next two years. Governor Roy Cooper’s favorability also sits slightly underwater, with only 45.5% favorability.
The Civitas Poll, fielded during and after Congress passed Biden’s hallmark infrastructure bill, shows that North Carolinians are not optimistic that Washington promises to increase spending – at a time when federal revenue receipts reached an all-time high – will translate into gains for their families. A staggering 64% of likely North Carolina voters say the current state of the American economy is bad, with 65% saying it is on a trajectory to becoming worse.
Voter unease presented itself in additional ways as responses from those surveyed showed pointed concerns over inflation when compared to unemployment woes. When asked, “Which do you feel is a more important problem facing the United States today?” 76.6% said inflation, whereas 19.7% responded with unemployment, and 4 percent stated they were unsure.
“President Biden’s numbers began to plummet in August with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and have continued to worsen with negative economic trends,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “Although November 2022 is one year away, we are beginning to see the negative effects of the President’s coattails on other politicians.”
This widespread lack of confidence among voters could spell trouble for Democratic candidates heading into the 2022 elections, both at the state legislature and Congress. Likely voters across the state were asked, “If the 2022 general election were held today, and you had to make a choice, would be voting for the Republican or Democratic candidate for…
Bryson continued, “North Carolina Republican generic ballot leads have clearly solidified at just over six points. What is startling about this lead is that it exists despite Democrats’ registration advantage and before anyone has run the first 2022 campaign ad.”
In addition to seeking to understand likely voter sentiment on the political landscape, the Civitas Poll also surveyed North Carolinians about their perception of the media. When asked whether they trusted mass media, like newspapers, TV, and radio, to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” 67% of respondents indicated that they are not confident.
When asked whether the national and their local media skew too conservative or too liberal, most feel that both their local news and media skews too liberal (40%), and the sentiment is even stronger when it comes to the bias of national news (50%). Thinking about their local news and media, voters are more unsure about any ideological lean (21%), and many feel that the media is balanced (30% “just right”). When it comes to the national news and media, the number of unsure respondents drops to 17%, and only 22% feel it’s “just right.” Democrats and Black voters are the only groups where a plurality feels that the national media is “just right,” but this number does not reach the majority.
Complete poll results and crosstabs can be found here.
Methodology: This probabilistic survey was conducted November 12 – 14, 2021, with 600 likely general election voters. It has a margin of error of ±4.00%. Known registered voters were interviewed via live phones, SMS, and email invitation. This survey was weighted to a likely general election voter universe.