Elon Poll: N.C. opposes ban on gay marriage

With a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot in May, a majority of North Carolinians say they disapprove of the measure.

Fifty-six percent of North Carolinians oppose a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to the latest Elon University poll, and the number of people who would prefer to see no legal recognition for same-sex couples has dropped since pollsters asked the same question two years ago.

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.

N.C. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
September 2011: 56 percent oppose / 39 percent support
February 2011: 56 percent oppose / 38 percent support
March 2009: 50 percent oppose / 43 percent support

Oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples:
September 2011: 34 percent
February 2011: 35 percent
March 2009: 44 percent

Support civil unions or partnerships, but not full marriage rights:
September 2011: 29 percent
February 2011: 29 percent
March 2009: 28 percent

Support full marriage rights:
September 2011: 33 percent
February 2011: 28 percent
March 2009: 21 percent

North Carolinians will go to the polls in May to vote on such a constitutional amendment. Lawmakers in Raleigh approved the ballot measure late this summer.

“The ballot referendum that would ban same sex marriage will be the issue to watch this year,” said Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll. “With North Carolinians so divided on this issue, expect a tough battle over the next few months as both sides attempt to sway public opinion in their favor”

Gov. Beverly Perdue

Fifty-one percent of respondents expressed disapproval of the way Perdue is handling her job as governor, and 41 percent approve. Perdue’s favorability rating has remained relatively unchanged since last spring, with 43 percent of respondents viewing her favorability and 47 percent viewing her unfavorably.

North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolinians were more divided on their opinion toward the North Carolina General Assembly. Forty-one percent disapprove of the way the General Assembly is doing its job and 39 approve.

Citizens viewed the state representatives and senators who represent their districts in a more favorable light.

Own District’s Representative
Approve: 45 percent
Disapprove: 29 percent

Own District’s Senator
Approve: 41 percent
Disapprove: 32 percent

State Direction and Economy

Forty-seven percent of North Carolinians think the state has gotten off on the wrong track, while 38 percent think the state is going in the right direction. When asked about the state economy, North Carolinians appear to be cautiously optimistic, with 68 percent of respondents expecting the economy to stay the same or get better.

Get Better: 17 percent
Stay About the Same: 51 percent
Get Worse: 31 percent

When asked about Perdue’s handling of the state economy, 51 percent disapproved and 36 approved of the way she is handing it.

Respondents were also asked which party is doing a better job managing the state economy.

Democratic Party: 23 percent
Republican Party: 33 percent
Neither Party: 27 percent

“Beverly Perdue will face a tough reelection battle in November if North Carolinians continue to disapprove of the way she is handling the state economy,” Kromer said. “If economic conditions fail to improve, it will be difficult for her to garner the necessary public support for reelection.”