News: Quick Takes

Fury over Kavanaugh hearing not reflected in High Point University poll                                                

While High Point University was surveying North Carolinians about their political opinions and voter preferences, the country was embroiled in a divisive battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Yet the hearing, which featured allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, probably didn’t sway public opinion much in North Carolina.

“We don’t see any drastic changes as a result of that, not for Democrats or Republicans,” said Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and chair of the political science department at HPU. “If there were something building, I’m not sure you can find the evidence you need in this poll. It doesn’t look like anything lurched dramatically one way or another.”

High Point University surveyed 921 adults in North Carolina between Sept. 28 to Oct. 7. The pollsters used a combined sample of live interviews with online interviews leading to a credibility interval of plus or minus 4.2 percent.

Respondents were asked about their feelings toward President Trump, Gov. Roy Cooper, and whether the country is headed in the right direction. HPU also asked who respondents would vote for in a generic ballot for Congress.

A little more than 50 percent of respondents said the country is on the wrong track, compared to 39 percent who said the country is headed in the right direction. Approval for the president is at 44 percent, up 2 percent from the September 2018 poll. Forty-nine percent disapprove.

Cooper’s approval rating is 52 percent, while 26 percent disapprove of the job he is doing as governor.

Republican candidates lead Democratic candidates in the generic ballot for Congress, but it’s a close call. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for the Republican candidate, compared to 37 percent who would pick the Democratic candidate. Two percent of respondents would vote for the Libertarian candidate.

In the September 2018 poll, 36 percent said they would vote for the Republican candidate, and 39 percent said they would pick the Democratic candidate. Three percent picked the Libertarian.

“From a pollster and statistical point of view, there really isn’t much difference here,” Kifer said. “The last poll had about the same number of respondents as this one, and we had basically a tie in terms of the generic ballots there, but one point in the Democratic favor. Now, it’s maybe a couple of points in the Republicans favor.”

Kifer said the results still look like a probable tie when taking the credibility interval into consideration.

“We also didn’t see many changes in terms of the approval of Congress, approval of the president, maybe it went a couple of points higher,” Kifer said. “All of that stuff looks relatively stable, like what we have been seeing for a while.”