N.C. residents favor fixed gas tax, minimum wage increase; reaction mixed on House Speaker Jim Black

A recent Elon University poll shows that 60 percent of North Carolinians favor a fixed tax on gasoline, while an overwhelming majority of citizens support increasing the minimum wage. The poll also found mixed reaction about the political situation involving N.C. House Speaker Jim Black.

The Elon University Poll was conducted Feb. 20-23 and Feb. 26-March 2 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs. Over the course of these nights, 321 North Carolina residents were interviewed; a sample size of 321 has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.58 percent.

"When posed with two options for a gas tax - keep the current state law and allow the gas tax to continue to change as scheduled, versus changing the current state law to set a gas tax that does not change - citizens were overwhelmingly in favor of changing the state law," said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. "North Carolinians want to see a change from the fluctuating gas tax to a set gas tax rate."

North Carolinians were asked about immigration and the minimum wage. Sixty-two percent said immigration was a very important issue, while 79 percent of citizens agreed or strongly agreed that the minimum wage in North Carolina should be increased. Of those who believed the minimum wage should be increased, 45 percent thought the minimum wage should be more than $6.50, while another 25 percent selected $6.50 as the minimum wage.

"In reviewing results from these three issues on the minds of North Carolinians, we see some distinct positions being taken by the public," Bacot said. "North Carolinians express concern about immigration, want the gas tax to be addressed in some manner, and, finally, the most eye opening view is the unequivocal support for an increase in the minimum wage. This increase is not just a simple increase, but one of over $1."

The political situation involving N.C. House Speaker Jim Black continues to interest citizens. Eighteen percent said they have no confidence in Black as Speaker, while 20 percent said they do not have much confidence. Twenty-nine percent have some confidence in Blackas Speaker.

When asked whether Black should remain in office or resign from office, 25 percent said he should remain in office and 30 percent said he should resign. Thirty-five percent said they didn't know whether Black should stay or resign. "Clearly, Mr. Black is walking a fine-line with citizens at this point," said Bacot. "Most appear equally divided, or at least equally confused about the ordeal. No one seems sure what they want him to do," said Bacot.

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.