Gay Marriage Reaches Record Support in NC

| Tom Jensen

-PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds a record high level of support for gay marriage, 8 months after it became legal in the state. Voters are now almost evenly divided on the issue with 44% in support and 46% against it. That marks a massive shift in public sentiment over the last three years. In 2012 North Carolinians passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by 22 points, 61/39. Last year we found that voters in the state still opposed it by 13 points at 40/53.

The big shift in attitudes may be a product of North Carolinians finding after gay marriage did become legal in the state that it just wasn’t a big deal. 69% of voters in the state either say that its being legal has had a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with only 31% claiming it’s had a negative effect. 

The numbers by party in North Carolina on this issue really show the extent to which Republicans are on such a different plane when it comes to social issues than Democrats and independents. 59% of both Democrats and independents say they think gay marriage should be legal- meanwhile only 17% of Republicans do. There’s also a huge generational gap- 57% of voters under 45 favor gay marriage, while only 36% over 45 do. Support will just keep increasing given that age divide.

-The renaming of UNC’s Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall has been a big news story in the last week and North Carolinians support the gesture- 58% think state buildings named after Ku Klux Klan leaders should be renamed to just 30% who oppose such renamings. Democrats (71/22) and independents (54/28) strongly support such renamings while Republicans (44/40) are more closely divided.

-47% of North Carolinians oppose a proposed bill to allow hunting on Sundays compared to 37% who support it. There’s an unusual partisan coalition on the proposal in that Republicans (34/49) and Democrats (27/53) both oppose it while independents (59/32) strongly support it. We didn’t go into a lot of detail on the issue but the numbers suggest a coalition between voters who don’t love guns and voters who do love Jesus.

-In a reality check on how closely the debate is being followed outside of Washington 57% of North Carolinians say they have no opinion either way about the Trans Pacific Partnership. Among those who do have one 18% are supportive and 25% are opposed. At the same time 43% of voters say they think major trade deals are good for the state’s economy to only 28% who consider them to be a negative. So there may be something specific about the TPP that voters don’t like, or they may just not know what to think.

-The General Assembly’s about as unpopular as it always is- 23% of voters approve of the job it’s doing to 54% who disapprove. Democrats (33/46) and Republicans (34/51) in the legislature are both unpopular and have pretty comparable favorability ratings. Voters are pretty much evenly divided on how they would cast their ballots if there was a legislative election today- 44% say Democratic to 43% Republican.

-North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has a 26/15 favorability rating, while her internet alter ego ‘the Elevator Queen’ comes in at a 7/9 favorability rating. Clearly North Carolinians need to step up their political twitter games. Interestingly Democrats (9/9) are slightly more appreciative of the Elevator Queen than Republicans (7/11) are.

-North Carolinians are mostly ambivalent toward the NBA finals despite the starring presence of native son Stephen Curry. 51% say they don’t care who wins with 25% rooting for Cleveland and 24% for Golden State. Curry himself is actually not that well known in North Carolina- 56% of voters have no opinion of him although he is quite popular with those who do have one- 37% favorable, 7% unfavorable. Metro Charlotte is a different story from the rest of the state though- Curry has a 63/3 favorability rating there and voters are pulling for the Warriors by an 11 point spread at 32/21. The enthusiasm just doesn’t seem to have extended to the rest of the state.

Michael Jordan remains an exceedingly popular figure in North Carolina- 72% of voters have a positive opinion of him to only 10% with a negative one. Tar Heel state voters are so blinded by their love of Jordan that they say 38/37 that he could beat LeBron James one on one in this year of 2015, even at the age of 52. White people (40/33) are particular believers that Jordan would win while African Americans (54/31) strongly believe that James would come out ahead.

-North Carolina remains Braves Country when it comes to baseball loyalties- 36% are Atlanta fans to 10% each for Boston and New York, with Baltimore, the Cubs, and Washington all registering at 3%, and Cincinnati and Tampa Bay each coming in at 2%. All these numbers are very similar to what we found when we first polled about this in 2011. 60% of North Carolinians though wish the state had an MLB team of its own to just 19% opposed to that concept.

Full results here

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