Republican state legislators have the full backing of their voting base on three key issues now being debating at the North Carolina General Assembly. This is according to new survey results of likely 2022 GOP primary voters obtained exclusively by Carolina Journal.

Large majorities of North Carolina Republican voters continue to back GOP efforts in the General Assembly on school choice, ballot security, and the General Assembly’s position against efforts to expand Medicaid.

The poll was conducted by Spry Strategies, which interviewed 700 likely 2022 GOP primary voters using a blend of traditional live-caller landline, IVR, & online mobile interviews. The interviews were collected from April 21-24, 2021. The survey has a margin of error of + / – 4.  An interview on the poll with Spry Strategies’ founder Ryan Burrell is available here.

CJ’s previously reported data from the survey results, exploring the 2022 GOP primary U.S. that showed strong initial support for Governor Pat McCrory, with former Congressman Mark Walker and Congressman Ted Budd trailing.

The survey also showed that Republican likely voters give Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson high job approval numbers, and overwhelmingly support his decision to bypass the U.S. Senate race in 2022.

GOP voters are strongly against Medicaid expansion

On the question of Medicaid expansion, despite a nearly five-year campaign by Governor Roy Cooper to get the General Assembly to expand the program, Republican voters are largely opposed. Although Medicaid originally covered poor pregnant women and children, expansion would also include some able-bodied men of working age. “Do you support or oppose North Carolina expanding Medicaid?”

45.8% of likely GOP primary voters strongly oppose expanding Medicaid with 18.1 % somewhat opposed.

Overall, 64% oppose the expansion of Medicaid while only 28% support expansion and 8% are unsure.

GOP base is all in on school choice funding

On school choice, GOP lawmakers are attempting to expand school choice, saying that a voter demand for more educational options is driving their effort.

When asked “Republicans in the General Assembly have proposed increased funding for school choice options including charter schools and grants for low-income children to attend schools of their choice. Governor Cooper opposes these measures. Which position do you support?”

Three-quarters (75%) of GOP voters support the position of Republican lawmakers for more school choice options and additional school choice funding, while only 15% support Cooper’s position of cutting funding for school choice options. Ten percent are unsure.

GOP primary voters say N.C. is on the wrong track

Overall, 67% of likely 2022 GOP primary voters believe North Carolina is on the “wrong track” while 33% believe North Carolina is on the right track.

Of the 67% of respondents who said N.C. is on the “wrong track,” 27% cited election security and voter fraud as a reason North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction.

GOP lawmakers have the strong support of their voters on a key voting security measure.

When asked “Under current law people who vote by mail can have their votes counted as long as they are received by the Board of Elections three days after the election. The General Assembly is considering moving up the deadline, requiring all mail ballots to be received by election day. Do you support this proposal?”

A little over three-quarters (75.5 %) of all respondents said they strongly support making election day the deadline for mail ballots.

Overall, 82.4% of GOP voters are in favor of moving up the mail voting deadline, and only 15% oppose. Less than 3% are unsure.

“As Republicans face off against Governor Cooper and the hard left on these proposals, they can take comfort in knowing their key Republican primary voters are fully behind them,” said Ryan Burrell, founder of Spry Strategies. “However, it is important to note that these “red meat” issues are not likely to cause problems for Republicans with swing voters. Swing voters are not going to be turned off by requiring all voters to have their ballots in by election day.  Voters that are not hard-core liberal Democrats and members of the teacher’s union have long been with North Carolina republicans on school choice, and that bond has grown stronger because of the COVID-19 related school closures and the intransigence of unions against reopening schools in a timely fashion.”

“On Medicaid expansion, Republicans are clearly signaling to the General Assembly to stay the course and reject Gov. Cooper’s call for expansion,” Burrell added. “We know based on the election results where Gov. Cooper and his party have failed to make significant sustained gains in General Assembly elections, despite making Medicaid expansion a key issue, that this is not an issue that moves swing voters either way. Our survey results clearly show why republicans can’t back down now on Medicaid expansion.”

Republican efforts to roll back Covid-19 restrictions and limit governments reach in the future remain a top issue for base voters. Of the 67% of GOP respondents who said N.C. was on the wrong track, 32% said it was because of “Infringement on liberties by government.”

North Carolinians are looking for Ron DeSantis-style governing, which means less government,” said Burrell.

Republican voters are wary of big tech companies

The survey results also show GOP primary voters are growing more and more concerned about “Big Tech” and are positively inclined towards regulation.

When asked “The Florida Governor and the Florida legislature are crafting legislation to reform and limit Section 230, the controversial statute that provides tech companies with immunity from civil liability for content posted by users on their platforms. Would you support the North Carolina Legislature to pass legislation that reform section 230 essentially limiting Big Tech and social media’s immunity from civil liability?”

A little over half (52%) said they strongly supported the idea with 12% supporting somewhat. In opposition, 6.38% somewhat oppose the idea, while 13.74% strongly oppose and 15.91% are unsure or have no opinion

In total, 64% of GOP primary voters endorse eliminating special protections against civil liability for big tech companies and social media while 20% oppose and 16 % are unsure.

Republican voters give mixed results on the Save Women’s Sports Act

GOP primary voters are unsure of efforts to protect women’s sports teams from biological males identifying as female.  When asked “Would you support or oppose legislation being debated in North Carolina that prevents students who were born male, but who now identify as female from playing on all girls’ sports teams, keeping in mind some people say this is unfair to transgender teenagers?”

While 47% strongly support the measure and another 6.6% supporting somewhat, 33% of GOP primary voters strongly oppose this measure.

“These numbers could help explain why House Speaker Tim Moore announced the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ will not move forward,” said Mitch Kokai, John Locke Foundation senior political analyst. “If you barely have a majority of base Republican voters supporting a controversial bill, it is hard for GOP legislators to justify moving it forward.”

“Legislative leaders might have taken away a key lesson from the HB2 controversy: It is difficult to legislate hypotheticals,” Kokai added. “If this issue starts having a large impact on women’s sports in North Carolina, the General Assembly can address the issue then. One would presume public support for the measure would be higher.”