Elon Poll finds support for Bush at 45 percent; top election issues include economy, terrorism

A new Elon University Poll shows President George W. Bush’s approval rating in North Carolina at 45 percent, compared with 42 percent in a February 2006 Elon Poll. The poll also finds that the economy and terrorism are top issues among citizens in the upcoming Congressional elections…

The poll, conducted September 24-28 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 649 North Carolina residents. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

Forty-five percent of those polled approve or strongly approve of the job Bush is doing as president, while 49 percent disapprove or strongly disapprove. Forty-two percent approve or strongly approve of Bush’s handling of the economy, up from 38 percent in the February poll, while 50 percent disapprove or strongly disapprove.

Approval of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq increased slightly from the February poll. Thirty-eight percent approve or strongly approve of Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, compared with 36 percent in February. Fifty-seven percent disapprove or strongly disapprove.

“Bush’s approval ratings appear to mirror that of the rest of the country,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. “Given the slight increase in Bush’s approval ratings on Iraq, it appears that the administration’s efforts to counter criticism of the war effort are working, even though a solid majority of citizens still disapprove of his handling of the war.”

North Carolinians were also polled about November’s Congressional elections and the issues that will influence their votes. The economy was the top issue at 79 percent, followed by terrorism (76 percent), Iraq (75 percent), immigration (75 percent) and health care (75 percent).

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they have some confidence or a lot of confidence in their congressional representative, compared with 35 percent who said they had not much confidence or no confidence. When asked if their confidence level has increased, decreased or remained the same lately, 57 percent said their confidence level has remained the same.

Fifty-five percent of those polled believe the U.S. is now at more risk of a future terrorist attack, while 27 percent believe the risk is lower and 13 percent thought the risk to be about the same. Forty-four percent said the war in Iraq has made the U.S. less safe from terrorism; 36 percent said the U.S. is safer and 12 percent said about the same.

Residents were also polled about the top issues facing the nation and state. Top national issues included the war in Iraq (30 percent); terrorism and security (22 percent) and the economy (11 percent). The most important issues facing North Carolina included education (19 percent); the economy (14 percent) and immigration (12 percent).

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.