Elon University Poll finds drop in confidence in NC House Speaker Jim Black

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A new Elon University Poll shows that 71 percent of North Carolinians who are aware of the situation surrounding state House Speaker Jim Black have little or no confidence in him as speaker. Among citizens who are aware of the situation, 22 percent expressed some confidence or a lot of confidence in Black. Among all citizens, 12 percent expressed confidence in Black, down from almost 20 percent in an April Elon Poll.
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. Of the 649 people surveyed, 340 were aware of the situation involving Black; the margin of error is plus or minus 5.4 percent for these questions.

Black’s campaign is under investigation for potential campaign finance violations, and Black’s former political director and others are being investigated for possible violations of state lobbying laws.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents aware of the situation involving Black said they have no confidence or not much confidence in members of the House who support Black, while 31 percent did not know if their representative supports or opposes Black. Among respondents aware of the situation, 52 percent said it will affect how they vote in the upcoming election.

“It appears that events over the summer, coupled with sustained media coverage of these events, have taken a toll on Speaker Black’s reputation,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.

Across party identification for those aware of the situation, 59 percent of Republicans support Black’s resignation from both the speaker’s position and his seat in the House. Thirty-two percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Independents said Black should resign as speaker but remain in the House.
“It seems that the situation is no longer affecting only the Speaker,” Bacot said. “The issues surrounding him are being felt by rank and file House members. People are beginning to make a connection between Speaker Black and other members of the House.”

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.