North Carolina likely voters have overwhelmingly positive views of city and town government and the services provided at the local level, according to a poll recently commissioned by the League. The League publicly released results of the poll this week, which was conducted in late October by national polling firm McLaughlin & Associates.
The polling took place to gauge North Carolinians' sentiments regarding their town or city, their priorities for municipal services and infrastructure, and to examine their views regarding city-led economic development and job creation efforts. The poll and its results will be used to help shape a League-led campaign to highlight municipal economic development-focused investments.
The poll findings show that more than two out of three likely voters in North Carolina approve of the job performance of their city or town government. The poll also found that 75 percent of state residents would support giving local government more decision-making authority through so-called home rule.
Other poll results: Seventy-three percent of respondents rated the quality of life in their city or town as excellent or good, while 78 percent stated that they were satisfied with the services and amenities provided in their town or city.
The overwhelmingly positive views cut across political lines and the urban-rural divide in the state. Seventy-two percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Independents gave positive job approval ratings to their city or town government, while 71 percent of (self-identified) urban dwellers, 70 percent of suburban residents and 67 percent of rural residents viewed the job performance of their city or town positively.
On the question of local decision-making and home rule, 77 percent of Republicans supported adopting “home rule,” compared to 74 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Independents.
The poll also examined an issue that could come before the 2016 North Carolina General Assembly – local control of billboards. Asked if the size and location of billboards should be controlled locally or at the state level, 79 percent said those decisions are best made at the local level, compared to 16 percent at the state level. An identical percentage of respondents – 79 percent – said billboard owners should not be given the right to compensation that other business owners do not have.
The poll was conducted via live telephone interviews, with 600 likely general election voters surveyed. The accuracy of the sample is within plus or minus 4.0 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
Exact poll questions, in the order that they were asked, follow:
OVERALL, WOULD YOU SAY THINGS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION OR WOULD YOU SAY THINGS HAVE GOTTEN OFF ON THE WRONG TRACK?
(Net Diff = RIGHT DIRECTION - WRONG TRACK)
RIGHT DIRECTION 40.2
WRONG TRACK 51.7
Net Diff -11.5
OVERALL, WOULD YOU SAY THINGS IN YOUR CITY OR TOWN ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION OR WOULD YOU SAY THINGS HAVE GOTTEN OFF ON THE WRONG TRACK?
RIGHT DIRECTION 60.4
WRONG TRACK 33.8
Net Diff 26.5
OVERALL, DO YOU APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF THE JOB YOUR CITY OR TOWN GOVERNMENT IS DOING?
(Net Diff = APPROVE - DISAPPROVE)
Net Diff 42.2
OVERALL, HOW WOULD RATE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN YOUR CITY OR TOWN? WOULD YOU SAY IT’S…?
(Net Diff = POSITIVE - NEGATIVE)
ONLY FAIR 20.1
Net Diff 46.7
OVERALL, ARE YOU SATISFIED OR DISSATISFIED WITH THE SERVICES AND AMENITIES PROVIDED BY YOUR CITY OR TOWN?
(Net Diff = SATISFIED - DISSATISFIED)
Net Diff 58.2
IN NORTH CAROLINA, THE STATE GIVES CITIES AND TOWNS LIMITED AUTHORITY. IN SOME STATES, KNOWN AS “HOME RULE” STATES, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE AUTHORITY INDEPENDENT FROM THE STATE, AND LOCALLY-ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE MORE POWER TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT CANNOT BE OVERRULED BY STATE LEGISLATURES. WOULD YOU SUPPORT OR OPPOSE NORTH CAROLINA ADOPTING THESE “HOME RULES,” GIVING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MORE AUTHORITY INDEPENDENT FROM THE STATE?
(Net Diff = SUPPORT - OPPOSE)
DO YOU BELIEVE THE SIZE AND LOCATION OF BILLBOARDS IN YOUR CITY OR TOWN SHOULD BE CONTROLLED LOCALLY OR BY THE STATE?
(Net Diff = LOCALLY - STATE)
Net Diff 63.0
DO YOU BELIEVE BILLBOARD OWNERS SHOULD BE TREATED ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER BUSINESS PROPERTY OWNERS BY STATE AND
(Net Diff = YES - NO)
Net Diff -64.1
State legislators continue to look at state worker benefits, particularly retiree health benefits, due to worries about unfunded liabilities. The NC Insider state government news service reports that draft legislation focused on state retiree health funding and benefits could emerge from a Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee meeting on Monday. That committee also is scheduled to again consider oversight of supplemental insurance benefits offered to state workers. Meanwhile, a work plan released by the committee staff, which was established to review the effectiveness and operations of state programs, shows that it is currently examining county tier designations, which can affect the amount for state grants and matching funds for economic development and infrastructure investments. Also, a review of the management of state pension fund investments is pending. The Teachers and State Employees Retirement System is managed jointly with the Local Government Employees Retirement System by the State Treasurer's Office, although with separate oversight boards.