Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Price of Power

If you are in power, voters will think you're corrupt.

That's one of the lessons from a question we asked on our most recent North Carolina poll that we had also asked in July of 2008. When asked whether they thought Washington Democrats, Washington Republicans, Raleigh Democrats, or Raleigh Republicans were the most corrupt group of politicians DC Dems led the way with 36% to 33% for DC Republicans.

That's a reversal from when we asked it 13 months ago and found Washington Republicans in the lead with 43% to 35% for Washington Democrats.

There really haven't been any major scandals for President Obama or Congressional Democrats since the party gained power but having control in and of itself seems to have been enough to move those numbers.

One thing that hasn't changed at all is that despite a rash of scandals or quasi scandals at the state level, voters are still considerably more likely to associate corruption with Washington DC than Raleigh. 69% of respondents said that either the Democrats or Republicans in Washington were the most crooked, compared to just 15% picking one of the groups in Raleigh.

Asked straight up about corruption in the state capital though 44% of respondents said it applied more to Democrats while 26% said Republicans. That's a bit of a change from past polling that's been conducted on the issue and may be a reflection of Mike Easley's woes. Voters didn't know who Jim Black was but they do know who Easley is and even if what he's been accused of are comparatively benign offenses it does seem to have increased public perceptions that Democrats are the more corrupt party in Raleigh.

As you might expect Democratic voters think Republicans are more corrupt and Republican voters think Democrats are more corrupt. Independents deliver a split verdict, saying that Republicans are more corrupt in Washington but that Democrats are more corrupt in Raleigh.

Full results here

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