First post-election Civitas poll shows marginal improvements in voter mood

N.C. Capitol Building

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  • Voters say that Democrats did a slightly better job communicating their message than Republicans during the midterm election.
  • Nearly three-in-10 N.C. voters in the midterms split their ticket between Republicans and Democrats.

The first Civitas poll since Election Day shows that sentiment among voters about the economy and the direction of the country has improved marginally.

On the “right track or wrong track” question, the results improved from October by around 10 percentage points. Thirty-two percent of respondents now say the country is headed in the right direction, compared to 22% in October, while 63% say the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 73% in October.

The results land just over one week since the midterm election in North Carolina, in which Republicans make sweeping gains at the state level and came within one seat of capturing supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature.

“Overall, Republicans in North Carolina had a better night than Republicans across the nation, but they definitely left points on the field,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “It seems like Republicans may have cost themselves a lot of votes due to vague messaging about their policy agenda, such as with the Congressional Republican Commitment to America plan.” 

In the new poll, President Joe Biden’s approval rating saw marginal improvement, inching up from 38% in October to 42% in November. The percentage of people saying they “strongly” approve of the president, however, dropped from 20% to 19% while those who “somewhat” approve rose from 18% to 23%. Meanwhile, Biden’s disapproval rating stands at 54%, with 49% of “strongly” disapproving.

Asked whether Republicans or Democrats did a better job explaining their plans and visions for the country in the election, respondents gave higher marks to Democrats — 39% said the GOP did “well” and 46% said the party did “poorly,” while 48% said Democrats did “well” and just 33% “poorly.”

The poll also revealed more evidence of split-ticket voting in the Tar Heel State. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they voted for some Democrats and some Republicans, while 36% said they voted straight-ticket Republican and 35% straight-ticket Democrat.

Asked to rank their priority list of issues in the midterm elections, 32% said the economy, 25% abortion, and 16% inflation. Healthcare, the environment, crime, guns, energy, and foreign policy all ranked in the single digits.

On the health of the U.S. economy, 53% said “poor” and 31% “fair,” while 59% said they believe the country is currently in a recession. Forty-four percent said they believe inflation will be higher six months from now, 26% said they believe it will be lower, and 19% said they believe it will be about the same.

On home affordability, 83% are concerned about the price of housing and 74% said the average person could not afford to buy a house in their community.

The poll was conducted Nov. 12-14 and surveyed 600 likely general election voters.