by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Civitas Poll also reveals good news for GOP ahead of 2022 election
RALEIGH — The August Civitas Poll reveals that a majority of likely North Carolina voters disapprove of President Joe Biden’s performance in office. Disapproval sits at 53%, up five points from June. Seven months into his term, Mr. Biden’s approval rating is just 42%, with just one in four of those polled saying they strongly approve of his work. Twice as many North Carolinians strongly disapprove – 48%.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ disapproval is nearly the same, sitting at 52%. Her job approval is noticeably lower, with only 34% of likely voters approving of the job Harris is doing as second in command.
“This poll was in the field with voters as this past weekend’s catastrophe in Afghanistan unfolded, and I am sure that that news influenced President Biden’s approval rating,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “However, Biden’s approval rating in North Carolina has been degenerating since March, and now he finds himself 10.5 points under water, and the Vice President performing even worse. The message from voters is that they are dissatisfied, and it didn’t start with Afghanistan.”
Gov. Roy Cooper’s support has deteriorated along with Mr. Biden’s. The governor’s job approval has dropped to 45%, down four points from June and down eight points from May. For the first time in 2021, just as many North Carolinians disapprove of the job the governor is doing as those who approve – 45% each.
Cooper’s support is strongest in the Triangle (49%) and weakest on the coast (39%). He earns high marks among those with graduate degrees or more (58%) and in urban communities (60%). His support tanks in rural communities (33%) and among unaffiliated voters (31%). Adding to the governor’s troubles is that 44% of likely voters say they don’t trust him when it comes to recommendations made to improve health during COVID-19. Fifty-two percent do.
Bryson continued, “Gov. Cooper’s job approval rating closely reflects a lack of trust in the public regarding information he provides on COVID-19. Forty-five percent of voters disapprove of the governor’s job performance, and 44% lack trust in his COVID-19 recommendations. That should give the governor pause in his future actions on the pandemic, while North Carolina is now in its 17th month of his initial emergency declaration.”
There is good news for Republicans in the August Civitas Poll, which shows the GOP increasing its lead over Democrats on the legislative generic ballot to four points. When asked their preference, 48% of likely voters said they will vote for a Republican for the General Assembly in 2022, and 44% said they will choose a Democrat. The pro-Republican spread is most noticeable among those who say their preference is definite, with 40% definitely planning to choose a Republican candidate and 33% definitely planning to choose a Democrat. The overall outlook is the same for the generic congressional ballot. Republicans lead Democrats by four points, 48% to 44%.
The release of the new Civitas Poll comes as North Carolina children prepare to begin a new school year amid continuing concerns about COVID-19. The pandemic has led some local school districts to impose a face mask mandate. A majority of likely voters – 55% – said they support requiring students to wear masks, with 36% opposed and 10% unsure or having no preference.
Despite 55% giving the nod to requiring masks, North Carolinians made clear who they believe should make the decision. A full 45% said the responsibility rests with parents. Just 11% said local school districts are in the best position to decide, while 8% chose school administrators. Only one in five said Gov. Cooper should make the call on masks for students.
Full results can be found here.
Methodology: The survey was conducted Aug. 13-16, 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 was weighted to a likely 2022 general election voter universe.