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February 26, 2010

Elon Poll: 75 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job

Half of North Carolinians approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job as President, while about 75 percent say they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, according to the latest Elon University Poll. President Obama’s favorability rating stands at 53 percent in North Carolina, while 41 percent view him unfavorably.

The poll, conducted Feb. 22-25, 2010, surveyed 508 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones.

When asked if they approved of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president, about 50 percent of North Carolinians expressed approval while about 45 percent said they disapproved. Obama continued to earn a favorable opinion among those polled:

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of President Obama?
Strongly favorable: 20 percent
Favorable: 33 percent
Unfavorable: 21 percent
Strongly unfavorable: 20 percent
Don't know: 5 percent

North Carolinians were asked to describe how much confidence they have in Congress:
No confidence at all: 25 percent
Not much confidence: 37 percent
Some confidence: 32 percent
A lot of confidence: 5 percent

When poll respondents were asked who would do the best job dealing with the main issues facing the nation, they indicated the following:
President Obama: 36 percent
Democrats in Congress: 12 percent
Republicans in Congress: 29 percent
None of them: 18 percent

North Carolina Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr continues to face an uphill climb in his re-election campaign. While more respondents approve (40 percent) than disapprove (35 percent) of the way Burr is handling his job as U.S. Senator, more than half (51 percent) of residents think it’s time to give a new person a chance, while only 24 percent believe he deserves re-election.

With the exception of Elaine Marshall and Richard Burr, three-quarters or more of respondents do not know other potential candidates for the North Carolina U.S. Senate seat.

“Despite the primary being a little more than 60 days away, people are simply not familiar with the candidates,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. “And those polled do not like the candidates they are familiar with. It is just not a good year to be a politician and running for office.”

North Carolina’s other U.S. Senator and Governor also earn mediocre job approval reviews:
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan: 40 percent approve, 40 percent disapprove
Governor Beverly Perdue: 41 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove

Tea Party movement
Two-thirds of North Carolinians are somewhat or very familiar with the Tea Party, a fiscally conservative movement that emerged last year, partially in response to the federal government's stimulus package. About 48 percent have a favorable view of the Tea Party movement compared with 40 percent who have an unfavorable view. About 34 percent of respondents agree with the Tea Party’s political message while 29 percent disagree with the message. At the same time, 33 percent of respondents don’t know enough about the Tea Party’s message to comment on it.

For demographic variables on this poll, visit www.elon.edu/elonpoll.

ABOUT THE POLL: Using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing lab on campus, Elon University conducts frequent regional and statewide surveys on issues of importance to North Carolina as well as other southern states. Information from these polls is shared with media, citizens and public officials to facilitate informed public policy making through the better understanding of citizens’ opinions and attitudes.

By conducting several public opinion surveys annually, the Elon University Poll is recognized as the “poll of record in North Carolina.”