North Carolinians divided on jobs proposal

North Carolinians are divided on their support of President Barack Obama’s proposed jobs bill, with nearly a third of state residents unsure of how they want elected leaders in Congress to vote on the issue, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

At the same time, a thin majority of respondents in the latest poll – 51 percent – disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job. Forty-two percent approve of his performance.

The poll, conducted Sept. 25-29, 2011, surveyed 594 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.02 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

Eighty percent of North Carolinians have been following the news about the president’s jobs bill. When asked if they would want their member of Congress to vote for or against a jobs bill similar to the one that has been proposed:

  • Vote Against: 36 percent
  • Vote For: 35 percent
  • Not Sure: 28 percent

“Given the current economic situation and levels of unemployment in the state, citizens are paying close attention to any proposal that may bring jobs and economic stability to the state,” said Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll. “For the president, the jobs bill isn’t just about growing the economy, it’s also about convincing voters that he deserves another four years in office.”

President Barak Obama and the National Economy

Fifty-one percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president, while 42 percent approve. Citizens were divided on his favorability rating. Forty-five percent expressed an unfavorable view of Obama and 47 percent had a favorable view.

Fifty-seven percent disapprove and 37 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy. When asked about the effect of Obama’s economic policies, respondents indicated they have:

  • Made Things Worse: 44 percent
  • Made Things Better: 22 percent
  • Have Had No Effect: 31 percent

Respondents were pessimistic about the national economy. Their answers indicted they:

  • Expect it to Worsen: 40 percent
  • Stay About the Same: 43 percent
  • Expect it to Get Better: 16 percent

Respondents were also asked about their perceptions and expectations of their personal financial situations. Compared to a year ago, respondents said they were:

  • Worse Off: 38 percent
  • About the Same: 44 percent
  • Better Off: 18 percent

And a year from now, they expect their situation to:

  • Get Worse: 21 percent
  • Stay About the Same: 38 percent
  • Get Better: 39 percent

“Presidential reelection rates are closely tied to the real and perceived health of the national economy,” Kromer said. “With more than a third of North Carolinians saying they are worse off than they were last year and half of them disapproving of Obama’s management of the national economy, President Obama will face a tough reelection battle in the Tar Heel state if economic conditions fail to improve over the next year.”

U.S. Congress

More than 80 percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job. Respondents had a more positive view on their district’s own representatives. Forty-three percent approve of the job their own district’s representative was doing and 36 percent disapprove.

When asked who was doing the best job dealing with the main issues the nation faces, 28 percent said the Democrats and 31 percent said the Republicans.  Another 34 percent volunteered that neither party was doing the best job dealing with the main issues facing the nation.

North Carolina U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan

Burr and Hagan are faring better in the eyes of North Carolinians than the legislative body in which they serve.

Forty-two percent of residents approve of the way Burr is handling his job. Thirty-four percent disapprove. His favorability ratings were about the same, with 41 percent having a favorable view and 30 percent holding an unfavorable view of Burr.

Thirty-eight percent of residents approve of the way Hagan is handling her job. Forty percent disapprove. When asked about how favorable their opinion was of Hagan, 37 percent had a favorable view, and 40 percent had an unfavorable view.