Poll Finds North Carolinians Support Cooper, For Now

May 2, 2017

Spring 2017 Elon University Poll
Credit Elon University

A new political poll from Elon University found that more North Carolina voters support Governor Roy Cooper than not after his first 100 days in office.

But Kaye Usry, assistant director of the Elon poll, said results might be a sign that it's still early in his governorship.

When compared to the performance of former governor Pat McCrory, 41 percent of respondents said that Cooper is doing better, 26 percent said he has done worse, and 24 percent said is doing about the same.

“I think that suggests Cooper has a little bit of leeway,” said Usry. “He's still in a little bit of a honeymoon period.”

Spring 2017 Elon University Poll
Credit Elon University

Spring 2017 Elon University Poll
Credit Elon University

Spring 2017 Elon University Poll.
Credit Elon University

Cooper’s ratings were about on par with those of McCrory’s in the spring of his first year in office.

Elon polled more than 500 North Carolina voters on a number of political issues.  Cooper fared better in approval ratings than either the General Assembly or the state's Congressmen. Fewer than one-third of respondents approved of the General Assembly.

“We think the views of the General Assembly have a lot to do with the recent handling of the repeal of House Bill 2, which has recently been making national headlines,” Usry said.

The pollsters asked voters about the effect they thought House Bill 2, a controversial law that limited protections for LGBT people, had on the state's national reputation. Sixty-five percent of voters thought it had negatively impacted North Carolina's image.

The Elon Poll also asked voters about specific state issues that have been making the headlines recently.

Craft Beer Distribution

The poll found North Carolinians had broad support for allowing breweries to self-distribute craft beers. A House bill to raise the limit for micro-breweries to distribute was dropped in the face of opposition from large beer wholesalers.

Conceal Carry Permits

In late March, the state house voted to allow conceal permit holders to carry handguns on private K-12 school property where church services are held. A majority of respondents opposed allowing conceal carry on private property of college campuses when the property owner or school prohibits guns.

Raise the Age

The General Assembly is currently considering legislation to raise the age for automatically prosecuting minors as adults. North Carolina is the only state that prosecutes all 16 and 17 year-olds as adults. More than half of respondents support raising the age. There were also significant gender and race gaps in opinions on this issue. Fifty-four percent of white respondents and 65 percent of black respondents support raising the age. Women were also more likely than men to support the measure. 

Climate Change

To gauge opinions about climate change, the Elon Poll asked voters whether global warming would negatively impact the coast of North Carolina within the next 50 years. Close to half — 45 percent — said "very likely" while 28 percent said "somewhat likely" and 23 percent said"not at all likely," according to Elon.

Congressional Town Halls

Neither Senator Richard Burr nor Senator Thom Tillis has held a public town hall meetings since their last election. A vast majority of the North Carolina voters -- 96 percent -- said they believe their representatives should hold regular public meetings with their constituents.

Medical Marijuana

Usry says voters had the strongest opinions on the legalization of medical marijuana. Eighty percent of voters back that proposal while 17 percent oppose it. "There were fewer 'don't knows' on that issue compared to any others," Usry said.

Overall, Usry said voters were much more knowledgeable and opinionated about national issues dealing with President Trump than state issues.