North Carolina Culture Poll 2017

| Tom Jensen

Every year PPP does a poll on a variety of non-political issues in North Carolina, and it’s that time again. Our new numbers cover a variety of sports, food, city image issues, and more.

Here’s what we found:

-33% of North Carolinians identify themselves as UNC basketball fans to 19% for Duke, 16% for NC State, and 5% for Wake Forest. 27% of voters in the state say they don’t have a team preference. Duke fans (an 84/5 approval rating for Mike Krzyzewski) and UNC fans (an 81/6 approval rating for Roy Williams) are both pretty happy with their current leadership- although the fact that anyone within their fan bases doesn’t approve of them shows how hard fans are to please. Wake Forest’s Danny Manning is in pretty good standing with his fans as well, with a 62% approval rating. On tenuous ground with his fan base- although maybe it would be a little bit better after last night’s win- is Mark Gottfried of NC State with a 45% approval rating. Infamous Duke player Grayson Allen has a -16 net favorability rating with his school’s fans, with 12% rating him favorably to 28% who have a negative opinion of him.

-A whole lot of Carolina Panthers fans have jumped off the bandwagon in the last year. When we polled football loyalty in the state around this time last year, 58% of voters in the state said they were Panthers fans. That’s dipped all the way down to 44% now after a disappointing season. The Panthers do at least still remain by far the dominant team in the state though with no one else hitting double digits- 8% are Cowboys fans, 5% each Steelers and Redskins, 4% Patriots, and no one else has more than 3% support. While Panthers’ fandom may be down, those who continue to be fans are mostly still very happy with Ron Rivera- 70% approve of him to only 6% who disapprove.

-North Carolinians prefer Krispy Kreme to Dunkin Donuts, 64/23. There’s a massive divide on the issue based on whether people were born in the state or moved here from somewhere else though. While natives choose Krispy Kreme 78/13, those who moved into the state only do so by a much more narrow 46/36 margin. Many Yankees have not acclimated in their donut preferences since coming to North Carolina. On North Carolina’s great barbecue debate, eastern style beats out western style 42/31. It’s even a rare issue that Republicans (40/33 for eastern) and Democrats (39/34 for eastern) have almost identical opinions on in these divided times.

-North Carolinians are ready for a change in the state song. By a 25 point margin they’d support making it James Taylor’s ‘Carolina in my Mind’ – 44% of voters support that to just 19% who are opposed.

-Something North Carolinians are split right down the middle on is how much snow they want- 24% wish North Carolina got more snow, 24% wish North Carolina got less snow, and 50% think the amount of snow the state currently gets is fine.

Finally we reupped a poll we did 5 years ago looking at how North Carolinians view all of the state’s major cities:


Current Favorability

2012 Favorability

Net Change


69/4 (+65)

67/4 (+63)



62/14 (+48)

67/11 (+56)



61/13 (+48)

61/12 (+49)



56/11 (+45)

55/8 (+47)



56/14 (+42)

56/11 (+45)


Chapel Hill

56/15 (+41)

53/18 (+35)



43/12 (+31)

41/14 (+27)



55/26 (+29)

59/18 (+41)



39/10 (+29)

36/11 (+25)



28/11 (+17)

21/11 (+10)



38/29 (+9)

38/29 (+9)



34/27 (+7)

29/30 (-1)


Wilmington comes out as the clear most popular city in the state for the second time. Raleigh and Asheville tie for second most popular, with Winston-Salem in 4th and Greensboro in 5th rounding out the top 5.

Most cities find their standing in a pretty similar place to where it was in 2012, but the one exception that’s seen a double digit movement is Charlotte which has dropped a net 12 points. That’s due entirely to movement among Republicans. In 2012 Charlotte was at +51 with Democrats (66/15), and now it’s at +52 (68/16). But with Republicans, in the wake of the HB2 debate, Charlotte’s dropped from +30 (51/21) all the way down to break even at 38/38.

Democrats having a higher opinion of the state’s major cities than Republicans do is something we see pretty much across the board in this poll- the only cities that have better net favorabilities with the GOP than Democrats are Greenville (+34 at 43/9 with Republicans, +25 at 38/13 with Democrats) and Fayetteville (+11 with Republicans at 34/23, +9 with Democrats at 35/26).

The biggest partisan divide by far is on Charlotte, but there are also pretty substantial ones for Durham, Chapel Hill, Asheville, and Raleigh. Durham is actually seen negatively by Republicans (27/33), while it is seen pretty positively by Democrats (46/21).

Full results here

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