RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite three straight weeks of protests against Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, a huge majority of North Carolinians polled by Meredith College approve of the order.
The Meredith Poll, which was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week, surveyed 604 registered North Carolina voters about their attitudes towards the state reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s and politicians’ responses to the pandemic, approval ratings of numerous elected officials, as well as other topics.
Over three-quarters of respondents (76.3 percent) support Cooper’s extension of the stay-at-home order until at least May 8 and his decision to close the state’s public schools has an even greater approval rating at 77.8 percent, the poll shows.
Nearly three-quarters of those polled (72.2 percent) said they don’t want public schools reopened this academic year.
A press release from the Meredith Poll says that “a large majority of citizens do not want to quickly return to activities, such as eating at restaurants, going to bars or movie theaters, or even getting a haircut.”
“Despite the claims of groups like ReOpenNC and President Trump about reopening the economy and getting back to normal, most North Carolinians are paying attention to public health professionals and seeing the impact of coronavirus firsthand. As such, they are very cautious about resuming pre-COVID-19 activities,” said David McLennan, director of The Meredith Poll, in the press release.
The voters were surveyed on how the pandemic is being handled in the state and on a federal level in the United States.
Those polled prefer that the governor, by a large margin, determine when people should go back to work and participate in other activities as opposed to President Donald Trump making that decision.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63.3 percent) preferred Cooper make the decision compared to 26.5 percent who preferred that Trump make the determination.
“President Trump’s mixed messages about the pandemic and his failure to follow the advice of public health professionals at times stands in sharp contrast to Gov. Cooper’s more consistent message about the crisis and his reliance on scientists and doctors in shaping public policy,” McLennan said in the release. “As such, North Carolinians favor Gov. Cooper’s more measured statements and plans for North Carolina’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
In addition to asking questions about the COVID-19 response, the Meredith Poll also asked respondents about voting by mail. Voting by mail is an issue that has come up after some states still held in-person primary elections amid the coronavirus outbreak in March and April. Some voters and election officials in states such as Wisconsin, Illinois, and Florida where in-person elections were held ended up getting COVID-19.
North Carolinians support voting by mail, but have reservations, the poll found.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (62.6 percent) support the idea of voting by mail, but only 51.9 percent said they trusted “the integrity of such a system,” the poll found.
“Even though North Carolina has used a system of no-excuse absentee voting — a voting by mail process — for years, many people have questions about whether the results can be trusted,” McLennan said in the release. “The 2018 House District 9 race in the Charlotte area and the fraud committed using the absentee voting system may be causing some of these questions.”
The poll found that 63.3 percent of voters approve of Cooper’s job performance compared to just 41.2 percent who approve of the job Trump is doing.
Cooper has seen a surge in his approval ratings, while the president’s approval ratings have fallen, the release stated.
“The federal government’s response to the pandemic has caused North Carolinians to question President Trump’s job performance. This is especially challenging for the president during an election year,” said McLennan. “On the other hand, the state government’s response to the crisis has bolstered Gov. Cooper’s approval ratings, as citizens see his leadership during the crisis in positive terms.”
Finally, the voters surveyed were asked their views on the upcoming election.
According to the Meredith Poll, former Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Cooper, and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Cal Cunningham, are all running strong in their matchups against Republicans.
Biden leads Trump 47.4 percent to 40.4 percent, Cunningham leads current Sen. Thom Tillis 43.5 percent to 34.3 percent, and Cooper holds a commanding lead against current Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in their matchup for governor with 52 percent supporting Cooper and only 32.1 percent supporting Forest.
“With over six months to Election Day, Democratic candidates for major office in the state are in good position. The slide in the president’s job approval not only hurts him in the campaign against Joe Biden, but also hurts other Republican down-ballot, like Sen. Thom Tillis and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest,” McLennan said in the release. “However, there is a lot of time for Republican candidates to improve their positions, as everyone expects North Carolina’s races to be very competitive on Election Day.”
The survey has a margin of error of +/-4 percent. Students at Meredith College administer the survey.
To read the poll’s full findings, click here.