Elon Poll: North Carolinians throwing support to Democratic Party

North Carolinians believe the Democratic Party is better able than the GOP to handle every major domestic policy issue facing the nation and now show greater levels of support for Democratic candidates in the presidential and U.S. Senate races this fall, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Democrats receive significantly higher levels of support for their positions on health care, education and for understanding the concerns of the middle class, poll results show. The only area where respondents lend more support to the Republican Party is on managing the war in Iraq.

The state of the economy is at the forefront of this election, with 63 percent of respondents identifying it as the most important statewide issue.  When contrasting the two major parties, Democrats were said to be better suited to manage the economy than Republicans at 47 to 39 percent, respectively.   

Forty-nine percent of residents hold the Republican Party responsible for the current state of the economy.  In regards to managing the economy, 51 percent of residents said Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama would do a better job, while 41 percent felt Republican presidential nominee John McCain would be best suited in this role.
“As the economy dominates the news, it appears to be benefiting Democratic candidates,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.  “The other side of this equation is that citizens are holding the Republicans accountable for the state of the economy.”
North Carolina residents placed their support with Democrats on nearly every major issue:  

Education: Democrats (54%), Republicans (33%)
Energy Independence: Democrats (50%), Republicans (39%)
Health Care: Democrats (55%), Republicans (33%)
Social Security: Democrats (47%), Republicans (33%)
Home Foreclosures: Democrats (44%), Republicans (34%)
Taxes: Democrats (47%), Republicans (43%)
Financial Crisis: Democrats (48%), Republicans (37%)
Concerns of the Middle Class: Democrats (56%), Republicans (34%)
Iraq War: Republicans (47%), Democrats (45%)

Residents also rated how qualified state and national candidates are in their pursuit of office. Twenty-nine percent of poll respondents identified Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to be unqualified. Ten percent of respondents said Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden was unqualified.

Conversely, Obama was seen as unqualified by 16 percent of respondents, while 11 percent saw McCain as unqualified.

Because the Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting in an election, residents were asked about which party they support this fall. Their answers:

Presidential election: Democratic (45%) Republican (38%)
Senate election: Democratic (44%), Republican (37%)?
Congressional election: Democratic (40%), Republican (34%)
Gubernatorial election: Democratic (40%), Republican (40%)

The poll, conducted Oct. 27 – Oct. 30, surveyed 797 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones.