Elon Poll: North Carolinians support financial sector bailout

Forty-eight percent of North Carolinians support the federal government’s efforts to assist banks and other financial institutions on the verge of collapse, according to the latest Elon University Poll, and more than half of respondents believe such aid will have a positive impact on the economy.

Forty percent of respondents oppose such a measure. And nearly one third (32%) believe a bailout will have a negative impact on the economy.

The poll, conducted Sept. 29 – Oct. 2 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, was taken in the days leading up to a vote by both chambers of Congress in which lawmakers passed a $700 billion bailout package. President George W. Bush has indicated he will sign the package into law as soon as it reaches his desk.

The poll surveyed 477 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones, and does not restrict respondents by their voter eligibility or likelihood of voting in an election. ?

Other questions asked during the poll. (Language enclosed in brackets was alternated randomly.)

As part of the agreement to assist these financial institutions, would you [support or oppose] the federal government’s proposal to set a cap on the pay of top executives in these firms?

Strongly oppose: 4 percent
Oppose: 11.5 percent
Support: 30.2 percent
Strongly support: 46.9 percent
Don’t know: 7.1 percent
Refused: 0.3 percent

Given the situation involving these financial institutions, do you [agree or disagree] that banks need increased regulation by the federal government?

Strongly disagree:
3.7 percent
Disagree: 13.9 percent
Agree: 40.3 percent
Strongly agree: 33.4 percent
Don’t know: 8.6 percent
Refused: 0.1 percent

Prior to the bailout passing, the mood among North Carolinians had darkened in regards to the national and state economies. Forty-five percent of respondents believe the national economy will worsen in the next year, an increase from 38 percent in a mid September Elon University Poll.

The percentage of respondents who believe the state economy will get worse jumped by 10 percentage points from the September poll. (37% in the most recent poll versus 27% two weeks earlier.)