Here's last week's column, mostly about the recent Elon Poll:
All signs point to ‘huh?’
The latest Elon Poll, released over the past few days, has a pretty interesting set of findings many of which can be summed up with a question mark.
North Carolinians know that smoking is a health hazard, but they don’t want government to interfere with the rights of small business. They want growth to pay for itself, which is only fair, right? Except they also overwhelmingly support the least fair way to raise money to do it.
The smoking numbers are interesting because the legislature is grappling with a proposed statewide ban on smoking in public places. The poll, which surveyed 476 residents from April 16-19, shows that 62 percent of North Carolinians support such a ban. The results from an additional question show that a similar percentage would favor letting local governments have the say.
But a third question reveals a strange twist. Asked who should decide if an individual business goes smoke free, two-thirds of respondents said the owners should make the call and only 30 percent said that government officials should decide. So a majority says a statewide ban is OK and another majority says yes, but only if people want to be subject to the law. Or something like that. Sounds like the logic behind one of those presidential signing statements to me.
Further on in the poll results, we find another split in logic and a not-so-good sign for the effort to pass a real estate transfer tax. The 1 percent real estate transfer tax, which would apply to all property transfers, won approval from 50 percent of respondents only if it was linked directly to funding for education. Otherwise it had a dismal 24 percent for and a strong 69 percent against.
Impact fees, which collect the same for a $50,000 home as a $1 million one, won support from 55 percent of those responding.
The Elon Poll’s director, Hunter Bacot, noted that it looks like accountability for those that are causing the growth is the key to the numbers.
Last Friday, the first round of Elon Poll results showed a slight shift in gubernatorial and presidential preferences in the 2008 races, kinda pleasant news for Sen. Elizabeth Dole and some truly lousy news for the current occupant of the White House.
The big number in the governor’s race is 87. Pretty big number, eh? It’s the percentage of people who haven’t made up their mind about who they’re going to support for governor. As Bacot notes, it shows how many people have tuned in to the elections ahead. Here’s another number:
99 — that’s my guess of the percentage of pundits who are going to ignore the fact that no one cares much about it right now and concentrate on covering ever bit of dust kicked up in the ’08 horse race, while virtually ignoring local elections. Life is so easy watching the ponies, right dudes?
As far as presidential preferences go, it’s now 10, 9 and 8. That’s Hillary, Barack and Johnny
respectively for the Dems. Rudy’s the only Republican with more than a single percentage point. He’s registered 5 — count ‘em — 5 points.
The goodish news for Liddy Dole is that 52 percent of respondents gave her a very good or good job review. Why, she’s probably so pleased she may even pay us a visit sometime.
For the president, the news hasn’t been worse — with 61 percent of North Carolinians saying they don’t like the way he’s doing his job. Zeroing in on Iraq, the numbers go downhill from there. A full 70 percent dislike his handling of the war and 65 percent don’t support the surge. Fifty percent of respondents said they believe the Iraq war has made the country less safe and 60 percent support a timetable for withdrawal.
(Note: More poll results on questions abut immigration and juvenile justice were due out around press time and will be in next week’s column.)