The vast majority of respondents to a new John Locke Foundation poll of likely 2022 general election voters in North Carolina support the state’s right-to-work law and would support a right-to-work amendment to the N.C. Constitution.
The result comes as North Carolina celebrates 74 years with the law on the books. As of March 18, 1947, the law states:
“The right to live includes the right to work. The exercise of the right to work must be protected and maintained free from undue restraints and coercion. It is hereby declared to be the public policy of North Carolina that the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or labor organization or association.”
North Carolina proved to be one of the trailblazers for right-to-work laws — while the majority of states have such codes now, the Tar Heel State was one of the first handful of states to implement the concept.
Public opinion and analytics firm Cygnal conducted a study of 600 voters last week on a number of issues, including right-to-work. Seventy-one percent of respondents say they support an amendment, while just 13% would oppose it. Slightly more than half said they strongly support a right-to-work amendment.
Right to work is set in state statute, but not in the N.C. Constitution, said Locke President Donald Bryson, who led a discussion on the poll with N.C. State University professor Andy Taylor on Thursday.
A constitutional amendment, Bryson said, would be much more difficult to repeal, as compared to the law. Whether voters approve a constitutional amendment, though, would depend on how it’s worded on the ballot, Taylor says.
“I do think there is a general skepticism when wording seems long and … ambiguous,” Taylor said.
Constitutional amendments typically pass, though people are skeptical about institutions, generally, Taylor said.
And although the issue is often framed as a left-versus-right issue, slightly more Democrats were polled in Cygnal’s survey than Republicans.
Despite more Democrats being polled and that party’s control of the Oval Office, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, the majority of respondents believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, as opposed to the right direction (51.6% versus 41.5%).
The choice of a Republican or Democrat candidate for the N.C. legislature was almost evenly split. If given the choice of either party in a race, with no other information about the candidates, 46% of those polled would choose the Republican, and 45.6% would choose the Democrat.
Given the choice between the two parties for a random congressional candidate, 47.3% chose the Republican and 46.1% chose the Democrat.
Gov. Roy Cooper fared better than President Joe Biden – 47.5% approved of the job Biden is doing versus 49.2% approving the work of Cooper.
Typically, Taylor said, serving politicians have a low ceiling and a high floor, because of partisanship and polarization.
“Clearly you see this with Biden,” said Taylor, referencing the proverbial absence of a honeymoon, as was the case with President Trump. Cooper benefits because he’s the governor in the state in which the poll was taken, Taylor said.
“We might not really like him, but he’s one of ours.”
The poll, conducted via phone call, texts, and email, has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4%.
Johnny Kampis is a freelance writer for Carolina Journal.