Elon Poll finds support for ban on smoking in public places

The latest Elon University Poll shows a majority of North Carolinians would support a statewide ban on smoking in public places, but opposes a real estate transfer tax. Details...

The poll, conducted April 16-19 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 476 North Carolina residents. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percent.

Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said they would support or strongly support a statewide law against smoking in public places, such as public buildings, offices, restaurants and bars. Thirty-four percent would oppose or strongly oppose such a law.

A follow-up question asked citizens if they would support or oppose letting local governments in North Carolina pass laws against smoking in public places. Sixty-two percent would support or strongly support allowing local governments to enact smoking bans, while 34 percent said they would oppose or strongly oppose such laws.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said the decision for not allowing smoking in public places should be made by individual business owners; 30 percent said elected officials should make the decision.

Sixty-four percent said they prefer to visit restaurants and entertainment places that do not allow smoking; 17 percent said they prefer venues that allow smoking. Eleven percent said it made no difference, and 7 percent said they don’t care as long as smoking is not allowed in the dining area.

Fifty-five percent said they are less likely or much less likely to visit a place for eating or entertainment if smoking is allowed; 20 percent said they were more likely or much more likely. Twenty-three percent said it did not matter.

“While citizens support a ban on smoking in public places, they are quite sure that they want this decision out of the government’s hands,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. “Though the majority of people prefer to frequent smoke-free restaurants and bars, they feel that the decision to ban smoking is best left business owners.”

Citizens were also asked about the real estate transfer tax and impact fees, two proposals being considered for raising revenue for local governments in North Carolina. Sixty-nine percent oppose or strongly oppose the real estate transfer tax, assessed when someone buys or sells real estate. Twenty-four percent said they would support or strongly support such a tax.

When asked if they would support or oppose the real estate transfer tax if all revenues went to education, 50 percent said they would support or strongly support such a tax; 42 percent said they would oppose or strongly oppose it.

Fifty-five percent of residents said they would support or strongly support the use of impact fees, collected to offset costs incurred by counties from new housing developments. Thirty-six percent would oppose or strongly oppose impact fees.

“Clearly, citizens are opposed to the real estate tax on all property, but do not mind the impact fee,” Bacot said. “It may boil down to accountability. People apparently believe those promoting the growth should be the ones bearing the costs associated with that growth.”

The Elon University Poll has conducted several polls annually since 2000. The non-partisan Elon University Poll conducts frequent scientific telephone polls on issues of importance citizens. The poll results are shared with media, citizens and researchers to facilitate representative democracy and public policy making through the better understanding of the opinions and needs of citizens in the state and region.