Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Voters' Support for Progressive Issues

By Katherine Rumbaugh, PPP Spring Fellow

Last week, we tested people's opinions on some environmental issues, specifically the proposed ban on using non-recyclable plastic bags and the use of stimulus funds to make low-income houses more energy efficient.

For the ban on plastic bags at major retail stores:
Support: 47%
Oppose: 31%
Not Sure: 22%

For the allocation of stimulus funds for making low-income housing energy efficient:
Support: 48%
Oppose: 35%
Not Sure: 17%

It would appear that North Carolinians actually care about some environmental issues. But when we asked about which was more important, environmental issues or illegal immigration, illegal immigration won out, 56% to 34%. So even though the state went blue in the election last November, North Carolina isn't becoming super-liberal just yet.

That being said, the way we phrased the question might make some difference. We asked "Which do you think is more important for the government to deal with...?" rather than "Which do you care more about" or "Which is a more important problem to solve," either of which might elicit a different response.

We also tested voters' opinions on stem cell research, which also, surprisingly, yielded relatively high support; 54% support and 30% oppose it. Those numbers are highly differentiated along party lines, with 68% of Democrats but only 33% of Republicans in favor of it.

Stem cell research and environmental issues don't rank highest among issues that North Carolinians care about, but considering these specific issues have fairly high support, maybe the state is gradually becoming more progressive.

Full results here

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