Raleigh, N.C. — Registered voters support legislation that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls and drug testing for welfare recipients, but they continue to say the economy and jobs are the most pressing issues in the United States, according to the latest Elon University Poll.
Of the 701 people who responded to the statewide poll, which was conducted Sept. 13-16, 24.3 percent said the economy was the most pressing issue in the country. Another 14.3 percent said jobs and unemployment were the most pressing issue.
"You really could add those together with another response about the budget and the debt," said Jason Husser, assistant director of the Elon University Poll. "Really, about half the responses to that question are about the economy."
That's consistent with other surveys over the years by other pollsters that show pocketbook issues traditionally rank highest in importance with voters.
The state Department of Commerce reported Friday that North Carolina's unemployment rate dropped from 8.9 to 8.7 percent in August, but the state shed more than 3,500 jobs during the month.
The poll results released Friday morning gauge responses to a number of pieces of legislation passed during the General Assembly session. Among those:
- 69.7 percent of respondents said they support a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. The survey did not ask about most other provisions in the legislation to change state elections and campaign finance regulations but it did find more than half of respondents disagreed with a provision that reduces the early voting period from 17 to 10 days.
- More than 72 percent of respondents said they opposed a provision in the omnibus firearms bill passed this year that allows concealed handgun permit holders to bring their weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Responses were more mixed on the question of allowing concealed handgun permit holders to bring handguns into parks, with 53 percent opposed. Overall, more than half of voters agreed with the statement that "there should be more legal restrictions on handguns in our society."
- More than 80 percent said that teachers should be paid more. The state budget does not provide for pay raises this year for teachers. The budget also does away with career status for teachers, what some people have called tenure. Of those surveyed, 53.3 percent support giving teachers career status.
- Three-quarters of those surveyed agreed that a person should be required to take a drug test before receiving welfare benefits. The state legislature passed a law requiring testing by overriding Gov. Pat McCrory's veto of the measure.
- Voters were mixed in their response to a question on unemployment benefits. A third said the state doesn't pay enough to unemployed workers, while another third said the current benefit system is "about right." Twenty percent said the benefits are too generous. North Carolina scaled back the amount of time during which someone could receive benefits this year.