A new poll from Elon University shows what scares North Carolinians the most — from shootings in a public place to rising health-care costs. To ticks and snakes.
The poll was conducted in partnership with the News & Observer and the Herald-Sun. Between March 30 and April 1, 1,489 people partook in an online opt-in survey provided by Lucid LLC. The credibility interval is plus or minus 2.7%.
Respondents were asked to rate how safe or unsafe they felt about 37 potential risks. Categories included risks involving nature, societal risks such as health-care costs or crime, and risks involving transportation.
Topping the lists were shootings in public places, terrorism, walking on roads with no sidewalks, snakes, and tornados.
People across all demographics — race, age, gender, party, etc. — ranked shootings in a public place as a top concern. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they feel very unsafe about shootings in a public place, while 23% said they felt somewhat unsafe about it.
Following closely behind shootings was fear over terrorism, with 33% of respondents saying they felt very unsafe about a potential terrorist attack. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they felt very unsafe about walking along a road without a sidewalk.
Fears about snakes topped the list of risks involving animals, with 29% saying they felt very unsafe about the slithery reptiles. Ticks, which can carry disease, made 25% of respondents feel very unsafe, and 23% said sharks made them very afraid. Just 4% of respondents said deers and dogs made them feel very unsafe.
Nearly 30% of respondents said tornadoes made them feel very unsafe, compared to 26% who said the same about hurricanes. Climate change was labeled very unsafe by 17 percent of respondents.
Health-care costs was a top concern for respondents, particularly for those between the ages of 45 and 64, lower-income residents, and independent voters. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said health-care costs made them feel very unsafe, but only 5 percent said their own health made them feel that way.
Specific crimes such as public shootings and terrorist attacks ranked relatively high compared to concerns over crime in general. Seventeen percent of residents said they felt very unsafe about crime at work or at school, while 14% said they felt very unsafe about crime at home.
Transportation risks ranked relatively low among state residents, with only 10% saying they felt very unsafe about airplanes, 5% saying they feel very unsafe about driving, and 4% saying they feel very unsafe about trains.
In general, younger people were more likely to say they felt very unsafe about the various risks compared to older generations. Republicans were less likely to say they felt very unsafe compared to Democrats, as were white residents compared to black residents. Women were more likely than men to say they felt very unsafe about the risks included in the survey.