Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A large portion of the company’s clients are from North Carolina: NCAE, SEANC, NC Center for Voter Education and the NC Beer Wholesalers Association. Politically, the Telephone Strategies Group works for Democrats, including the DNC and North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller.
The company is mostly known for voter contact services, like robocalls and live person ID, GOTV, and persuasion calls. I can only find evidence of two polls they have conducted; one for the realtors and another in Tennessee.
Given that the poll had only 20 questions and none were open ended leads me to think it may have been an automated poll, but there is no documentation either way. If anyone knows, please correct me.
Claiming bias is also a good way to avoid having to analyze polling results. Just cast the results aside as biased and you’re done with it. The N&O fell in that trap yesterday when discussing our recent Raleigh survey concerning Dorothea Dix Park. Ryan Beckwith makes the observation:
A follow-up question asked if voters would support leasing a smaller section of the park, but it's tainted by wording of the "historic core" that is "crucial to the success of a future destination park."
Fair enough. But he doesn’t report the results of the question, and most importantly misses the fact that while he considers the wording tainted, it is still true. Sometimes the truth is biased and that’s not a bad thing. Bias is also a matter of opinion. Some may consider a question biased, while others disagree. Some polling questions are also intentionally biased as a scientific way to measure the strength of an argument.
I tried to avoid simply claiming bias when discussing the most recent poll released by the NC Association of Realtors. The poll was biased, no doubt. But instead of claiming bias and walking away, I tried to point out instances when the question wording was not just bias, but factually inaccurate or misleading.
I didn’t further analyze the results of that poll on this blog, but there are lessons to be learned from the results. And in counties that will now face a transfer tax referendum, I suggest people look at these poll results for insight into how their pro-and-anti-transfer tax campaigns should be run.
Even in the face of bias we shouldn’t be scared to analyze, there is still something to be learned. Factual inaccuracy, however, is a different story.
Monday, July 30, 2007
The city of Raleigh is currently attempting to buy the Dorothea Dix property from the state government in order to turn it into a city park. Would you support or oppose an 80 million dollar bond referendum to help the city purchase Dorothea Dix?
The state government may offer to lease the city of Raleigh approximately 200 of the 306 acres of Dix land for 99 years on the condition that Raleigh would spend millions to improve the land as a park. However, the state offer would not include the main hill and historic core of the Dix property. Dix Park advocates claim that the historic core is crucial to the success of a future destination park. Should Raleigh accept or reject such an offer from the state?
Complete results here.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Raleigh Parks Bond
City Council at-large first choice (voters get two choices)
Complete results here. Next week we will release more results from this survey concerning the future of the Dorothea Dix property.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Q3. There is a current debate ongoing in the North Carolina Legislature about placing a one-percent sales tax on all real estate transactions in the state. The tax would be paid for by the seller of the property. For example, if you owned a $200,000 home, you would pay a $2,000 tax to the government at the closing. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a real estate transfer tax.
There is no debate about a one percent tax; it is only .4 percent or $800 on a $200,000 home. And it wouldn’t be on all real estate transactions in the state. It would only be in counties that first approved the new tax in a county-wide referendum.
Q4. In North Carolina, the Legislature reported earlier this year a $1.3 billion budget surplus, yet, there are talks ongoing in the General Assembly that would create a new tax on real estate transactions. With surplus money, the state should NOT increase taxes because when it comes to taxes my family has hit the limit. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a real estate transfer tax?
Any revenue from a transfer tax would go to the county budgets, not the state budget so the surplus doesn’t apply. And whether or not there really is a surplus is a matter of contention. Same goes for Q10.
The loaded wording continues for the duration. See for yourself.
If there ever were transfer tax referenda in North Carolina counties, Public Policy Polling will provide quality, unbiased polling of their success or failure. See our work on the Wake County School Bond. In the meantime, I don’t think Q13 is worth the paper it’s printed on.
I will have much more on this poll later. I need time to digest it all. But here's a sample of one of the questions:
A real estate transfer tax will be paid by the property seller. It is a tax on your hard work. It is a tax on the American Dream. It is a bad idea. I would not support a state legislator who supports creating a real estate transfer tax. Strongly agree, somewhat agree....
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
After our July poll had Edwards losing his lead in North Carolina, many people decried it as the end of the Edwards campaign. According to this poll, that’s probably premature. Edwards still has strength in his home state.
The Civitas poll confirms our findings that Fred Thompson, the non-candidate candidate, has taken the lead in the Tar Heel State. From what I’ve seen of polls in other states, Thompson is leading in most southern states, while he trails Giuliani and Romney in non-southern states, particularly Iowa and New Hampshire. Since such a large part of the Republican Party is based in the south, that helps explain his high standing in national polls, but it won’t help him as much in the early winner-take-all primaries – besides South Carolina.
In the Governor’s races, Civitas consistently has Beverly Perdue leading Richard Moore by more than we do. They have her leading by 9 points; we put her lead at 4.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Global WarmingMore from the press release:
Serious Threat 62%
Unproven Theory 33%
Support Expansion of: Solar Power
…When asked if the North Carolina government should act now to reduce the amount of pollutants that may contribute to climate change, 76% of likely voters supported intervention...
However on the question of nuclear energy, the results were less positive as respondents were given additional choices about that technology. When asked if they would be willing to pay higher utility rates to support the construction of new nuclear plants, the majority of respondents answered no, they would not support new construction. The majority, 72%, also believed that consumers should not start paying for the construction of new power plants before they become operational – a funding scheme known as Construction Work In Progress (CWIP).
The majority of those polled, 77% support higher utility rates if the revenue generated supported the use of renewable energy sources versus nuclear power plants. And 79% of respondents believe that power companies should be required to invest more in energy efficient practices. …
… “The poll shows what we’ve long suspected” said Nina Szlosberg President of the Conservation Council of NC. “Most people want us to do something about global warming now and they want us to do it through clean, renewable technologies.”
“We hope this poll helps lawmakers understand that they are heading in the wrong direction in the energy debate. If they listen to the people they represent, they will go back to the drawing board and produce an energy bill that promotes alternative energy without giving away “the farm” to the utilities.” …
Click here to see Carrie's final survey, released today. Below are some quotes from the press release.
According to the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of North Carolina voters, obesity ranks among their top three public health concerns with Cancer named the most pressing public health issue, followed by obesity and heart disease.
Fifty-four percent of respondents are very concerned about the high rate (24.2% among adults) of obesity in North Carolina, another 34% percent reported being somewhat concerned, while only 12% answered being not very or not at all concerned.
Results were split as to whether or not the North Carolina state government should take action to fight obesity, with 45% supporting involvement and 46% opposed.
However, a large majority, 77%, supported requiring all fast-food and chain restaurants to display nutritional information on menus and menu boards.
And 87% strongly or somewhat approves banning the sale of all junk foods, defined for respondents as high-fat, high-sugar snacks and sugared beverages, from all public school campuses.
“Although North Carolinians are initially reluctant to the idea of state government intervention in the fight against obesity, some specific policy proposals were very popular,” said Carrie McMillan of Public Policy Polling.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I left in the "press 1 on your keypad" part of the quote to let readers know that Public Policy Polling has no way to verify if their respondents are 5-year-olds, 15-year-olds, much less who they claim they are. But I digress...
Apparently, our respondents have grown from 12-year-olds to now 15-year-olds. I’ve discussed that point here and here. This seems to be the standard complaint from people who don’t like our results. It’s a form of “attack the messenger, instead of the message.”
The most egregious bias in this is that it frames the question in such a way as to suggest any county has EVER ONCE suggested that transfer taxes would be an alternative to property taxes.
That, in fact, is the case in many fast growing counties in
Revenues are going to have to be raised, if not transfer taxes (which is the only other option on the table right now), then it will have to be property tax increases.
The other misleading aspect of this is that it repeats "one-time". But the fact is: you will pay the tax every time you sell your home.
How many times can you sell your home? Only once. Then it’s not yours anymore. You pay property taxes every year.
Here's a comparable question from June's Civitas Poll:
"A transfer tax is a tax assessed against the seller of a home or property at the time of the sale. Do you support a 1 percent transfer tax on homeowners selling their home to help local government pay for the costs associated with growth?"
That’s not the issue before the legislature. The legislature is debating whether to give counties the authority to have a referendum in order to establish a transfer tax. Voters in each county that decides it wants to have a referendum are free to vote no. Right now the legislature won’t let citizens even put it to a vote.
If Wake County decides to have a transfer tax referendum, I'm sure PPP will poll on it. Our polls on elections and referenda have been extremely accurate and fair.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Do you support or oppose Congress passing legislation that would set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within the next year and also provide full funding for the troops presently fighting in Iraq?
Not sure 10%
Former Raleigh Mayor and current Dole campaign consultant, Tom Fetzer spoke at the Civitas luncheon on Wednesday. He stated that two-thirds of the Republican senators up for reelection in 2008 have expressed some break with the President over his Iraq strategy. Fetzer went on to say that he would expect even more Republican defections by the end of the quarter.
I assume Elizabeth Dole is not one of the senators who have broken from the President on Iraq already. Is Fetzer forecasting something to come from Senator Dole?
The question about donating the money given to people by Jim Black to charity was not worth mentioning because its such an over simplification of the issue. Just because Jim Black gave money to other candidates doesn't mean that money is tainted as well. And of course when you mention donating money to charity in a question there will be a lot of support. I really don't think donating money to charity that was given illegally reflects well on people's intentions. I also don't care either way if the money is donated to charity or not, its not a bad idea in principle. The problem is that the real issue isn't what to do with the money, but dealing with ways to stop corruption in the first place, regardless of party. Giving the money to charity isn't going to solve anything, therefore, its not a useful issue. One more thing. Only 4% of people in this poll listed "Government corruption" as "the most important issue facing...North Carolina." That's another reason I didn't mention that result in my previous post that hit on the major parts of the poll.
Another question that asked about global warming as a state or national/international issue was very poorly worded in my view. Here's what the question asked:
Do you think state government should enact new laws to control global warming in North Carolina or is it a problem that can best be solved through national and international action?I think that is it a problem that can be solved through national and international action but I also believe that NC should enact some laws to help control it. I'm sure a lot more people feel that way as well and there was no way for people to voice that opinion. Had the question asked if NC should enact laws or if it should not do anything and leave the issue for national/international action, the results might have been different.
A question was asked about "a state program that would provide clean needles to illegal drug users using taxpayer dollars." I don't see why this question was included in the survey because its not really an issue. Provisions like this are added to bills in the legislature by the hundreds, its a fact of how of government works. The only reason the question is in the poll is to stir up the conservative base, while the majority of voters are ambivalent about it.
There were also several questions concerning health care costs. One asked about mandates that require coverage for counseling and alcohol and drug abuse that raise insurance premiums. People overwhelming support tailoring their own needs in order to reduce health care costs, but what the question did not mention is that that would result in extremely high rates for people who did need insurance to cover their needs. The same concept comes up in the question about a high risk insurance pool for the chronically ill. Though it would reduce costs for most people, the chronically ill would have to pay an inordinate amount for health care. The point is that our system works on the fact that everyone sacrifices in order to help those who need it, which some people don't agree with in principle. However, the questions didn't address the lower cost of health coverage at the expense of others, which is something to consider.
One last point. Jack Hawke made a big deal about how Congress' approval is lower than President Bush's but people still say they would vote for a Democrat is the the congressional election were held today. He seemed baffled by why that was, even though its painfully obvious. People aren't mad at the Democrats in the leadership, they're mad because the Republicans won't allow the Congress to vote to get out of Iraq. That is really the only issue that people are giving any credence to right now. An overwhelming majority of the state and the nation wants us to leave Iraq, and all people see is the effort to which Republicans in Congress are going to stop that from happening, and they hate them for it. That is why Congress has such low approval ratings. The fact that Republicans at Civitas are unwilling to see that is alarming and shows just how blinded by ideology they are. They are too busy hating everything Democrats do to see what's really going on: people are abandoning their party because they hate the War, plain and simple. Until the War ends in any real fashion, any other issue will take a back seat.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
According to a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP),North Carolinians want the opportunity to vote on whether or not their county can use a transfer tax by a margin of nearly 10 to 1. The survey was commissioned by the Partnership for North Carolina’s Future.
Eighty four percent of those surveyed agreed that “voters in each North Carolina county should be able to vote on whether or not their counties can use a one time transfer tax to pay for communities needs…”, while only 8% were opposed.
“People want the same right to vote on the transfer tax that other counties have and they would be more likely (62-14) to vote for legislators who support giving them that vote,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
When given a choice of how to pay for schools, safe, clean water, better roads, open spaces and housing for seniors, those surveyed preferred a 1% transfer tax to a 10% property tax increase 75% to 25%. On average a 1% transfer tax would be equal to about a 10% property tax increase in most counties.
Survey respondents also favored (82%-18%) an impact fee charged to developers for each newly built home or business and a large majority (62%-38%) supported a tax on realtor commissions to help pay for community needs.
Additionally, 79% felt that realtors were being hypocritical by saying that a 1% transfer tax would prevent people from buying a home when those realtors charge a 6% commission.
In the last election the realtors and homebuilders made more than $900,000 in contributions to legislative candidates. According to the survey, 70% of likely North Carolina voters said they would be less likely to vote for legislators who received large contributions from realtors and homebuilders.
PPP surveyed 517 likely North Carolina voters on July 17. The survey has a margin of error of ± 4.3%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.
Complete results are attached and include crosstabs breaking down the results by gender, party affiliation, race, and age. If you have questions about this release or would like an interview regarding this release, please contact Dean Debnam at (888) 621-6988 or 919- 880-4888.
17% Strongly Approve
20% Somewhat Approve
14% Somewhat Disapprove
46% Strongly Disapprove
NC Legislature Approval
Congress passing legislation setting a timetable for withdrawl from Iraq
Is global warming a threat to NC?
Most of the questions concerning health care are not worth mentioning because they're so ridculous. There will be more to come on this poll, including more commentary. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Not surprispingly, most people think that the punishment handed to Libby was fair. We found that 60% of people thought his punishment was correct OR too lenient and only 35% think it was too harsh. Unfortunately, 45% of people think Bush should have pardoned or commuted him, and 50% think he should have just stayed out of it. Even in a conservative state like NC, I thought more than 50% of people would be unhappy with Bush's handling. It seems like his base it still supportive for whatever reason.
We also asked people if they think Bush had some kind of roll in the leak scandal. 48% think he had nothing to do with it, but 28% think he did something illegal and 17% think he did something unethical. Obviously, if people held a better view of Bush and his ratings were higher, more than half the state would support him on this. It just irks me that the Republicans continue to support him without a valid reason. However, that many people thinking he did something illegal is nothing to be happy about, and it does show the split between those who still love W and those who hate him.
When it comes to Cheney, people seem to have a lower opinion. We found that 52% of people think he was involved in a cover-up to prevent prosecutors from finding out who really leaked the name; 37% think he wasn't involved in a cover-up. Also of note, 50% of the state, thinks this scandal indicates low ethics in the Bush Administration, which might be the most important finding of the poll. Though that opinion was largely confined to Democrats, a growing number of Republicans are beginning to distrust this administration and its disregard for law, oversight, and ethics. Maybe that will help the Democrats make some gains in NC in 2008.
Take a look at the entire survey and report and let us know what you think.
Friday, July 13, 2007
When Dole was matched-up against Grier Martin, 22% of Democrats were undecided but only 13% of Republicans. Maybe more importantly a third of unaffiliateds were undecided. Against Kay Hagan 35% of Democrats and 45% of unaffiliateds were undecided, compared to 18% of Republicans.
The poll crosstabs also indicate African-Americans were not fully behind the Democrats either. In the Martin match-up 23% of blacks were undecided and 31% were for Dole. For Hagan it was 38% undecided and 29% for Dole. I see no reason why the African-American community would not support the Democrat in 2008 with their usual 80-90% support. Some of the support for Dole can probably be explained by name recognition and celebrity status.
If you add up the support a Democrat should expect from Democrats, African-Americans and some unaffiliateds, then this race looks even closer to a tie.
The survey was conducted June 12-13 among 600 registered voters by American Viewpoint.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
They got a WRAL news story amended to include a line about how “A polling firm that works with Dole questioned Public Policy's methodology.” Read the comments for more of Stephens’ complaints and my response. The fact is that there is no evidence of any the problems he mentioned. And his complaint ignores the imperfections of traditional telephone surveys.
We’ve have been running these match-up polls for months and have never seen this reaction out of the Dole camp. Bottom line: Something got them spooked.
Update: Even John Hood likes our methodology! (Scroll down)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Clinton and Obama are Democratic front-runners 1 and 1a. Their national lead is going to trickle down to the states. I think the North Carolina numbers are more of an indication of the strength of Clinton and Obama than of any home state weakness for Edwards.
For Edwards backers, the only polling that really matters is in Iowa, New Hampshire, and maybe South Carolina. If he wins Iowa, I predict he would bolt ahead in North Carolina polls too.
- Only 28% of voters believe North Carolina is heading in the right direction
- 61% approval rating for Dole
- 59% have a favorable impression of her
- 45% of North Carolina voters have a favorable impression of Senator Hillary Clinton
- 49% of voters have a favorable impression of Senator John Edwards
- 42% have a favorable impression of President George W Bush
- Voters disapprove of both Republicans (61% disapprove) and Democrats (51% disapprove) in Congress
The 61% approval rating is far from the 46% rating we released this morning. The polling memo only lists 9 questions. But these type of polls usually have between 25 and 50 questions. I'm suspicious that there were many other questions in the poll and those may have impacted the approval rating.
Results from our latest poll released today. Click here for complete results.Elizabeth Dole 43%
Grier Martin 37%
Elizabeth Dole 43%
Kay Hagan 27%
From our press release:
“To compensate for the extremely low name recognition of state legislators, we added a short description of Martin and Hagan to the survey,” explained Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.More results:
Martin was described as a “37 year-old two-term legislator” and “veteran of the War in Afghanistan,” while Hagan was a “five-term State Senator” and “chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”
“Grier Martin, or his profile, does very well against Senator Dole,” said Debnam. “If he were to enter the race he could be even more competitive than other Democrats we have tested.”
Elizabeth Dole 46%
Elaine Marshall 35%
Monday, July 9, 2007
At the moment none of the Lt. Gov. candidates are well known statewide. For the past 5 months, the five candidates have hovered around 10% each, while 60% of Democratic primary voters are undecided. That pattern is likely to continue until the candidates start spending money.
So why exactly are we polling the Lt. Gov. race this far out from Primary Day? We think it will be worth it once the campaign heats up, and especially after the primary. We will have established a long trend line for a low intensity statewide race-- something that hasn't been done in North Carolina before. That should prove valuable in analyzing the dynamics of the race. We will be able to see when voters start to make up their minds. Does that correspond to when people begin spending money? Will TV ads make a difference? Etc. Etc.
We will also begin tracking other council-of-state primaries once the candidate fields take shape in each party. The Republican and Democratic races for State Treasurer have started to come together in the last month, maybe we can start tracking that race by August.
Click here for analysis.
Click here for press release.
Click here for complete results.
By Rob Schofield
* NC Policy Watch, North Carolina’s leading provider of commentary and analysis on state public policy issues, released the latest edition of its Carolina Issues Poll today.
* According to the survey of likely voters throughout the state, North Carolinians strongly oppose a plan favored by state Senate leaders to cut income taxes on the wealthiest North Carolinians, but support extending the quarter cent sales tax hike first adopted in 2001.
* The poll also gauged voter attitudes on other state tax issues including an earned income tax credit and proposals to tax real estate transfers and realtor fees, as well as the issue of public subsidies for private colleges and universities.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
The Democratic Presidential race is tightening up, with this month’s poll showing a tie among the top three Democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both garner 27% support, while John Edwards has 26%. John Edwards’ support has continued to slide in North Carolina since a strong showing in April following the announcement of the recurrence of his wife’s cancer. The Edwards’ campaign has had a few media missteps in the last three months (his home, haircuts and hedge fund). Those problems coupled with Clinton and Obama winning the fundraising battle, could explain his drift and their growth in the poll.
Perhaps more importantly, Democratic Party demographics are against him. Women and African-Americans make up a significant majority of Democratic primary voters. Yet Edwards performs best among men and whites.
Not surprisingly Hillary Clinton leads among women and in the last month Obama has seen a surge in African American support. In July he received the support of 59% of blacks polled, fourteen percentage points higher than last month. Obama’s support from blacks has continued to rise over the seven months we have been tracking...
...It is important to note that Edwards performs much better in North Carolina than in national polls, where the latest poll averages have him in the low teens. His strength in North Carolina has waned mirroring national polling trends, fundraising, and punditry analysis. His success in North Carolina may depend upon his national success. If he remains a viable top-tier candidate, North Carolina will likely continue to support its native son. However, if his nomination becomes improbable his Tar Heel State supporters might drift to Clinton or Obama.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Favorite Summer Vacation Spot
License Plate Lettering
Old Blue 32%
New Red 26%
Favorite Pro Team
Do you follow NASCAR?
Favorite local fruit
Vacation in NC or out-of-state
North Carolina 52%
Favorite College Team
NC State 17%
Wake Forest 7%
Monday, July 2, 2007
American Viewpoint’s political client list includes big names like Bush-Cheney ’04, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich. They have worked for numerous current and former Senators and Congressman. They have also done work for the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Majority for Choice.
North Carolina ties include working for former State Rep. Richard Morgan and Elizabeth Dole’s Presidential Campaign.
The non-political client list is a mixed bag of corporations and advocacy groups that span the ideological divide (for example, AARP, American Medical Association, AT&T, CBS News, NEA and Planned Parenthood).
The polling for the NC Center for Voter Education appears to have been lead by Randall Gutermuth, the Director of Political Affairs for American Viewpoint. Gutermuth has his own impressive list of Republican Senators, Governors and Congressman and corporate clients and was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns & Elections magazine in 2005.