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Poll: NC residents split on 'Occupy' protests

Posted November 7, 2011

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— North Carolinians are evenly divided on their views of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a protest that began in New York City and gained support worldwide, according to the latest Elon University poll.

Of those familiar with Occupy Wall Street, 45 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of the movement, and the same number reported a favorable opinion. Thirty-two percent of respondents consider themselves supporters of the movement, and 26 percent consider themselves opponents.

The poll, conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 2, surveyed 529 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.26 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellphones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

When asked whether the movement is aligned with a political party:

  • 53 percent believe that Occupy Wall Street is aligned more with the Democratic Party
  • 5 percent believe it is aligned with the Republican Party
  • 34 percent said the movement is not aligned with a party

Tea party

Meanwhile, four out of five North Carolinians are familiar with the tea party movement. Of those who are familiar, 42 percent say that they have a favorable opinion of the movement, with 46 percent expressing an unfavorable opinion.

Three out of 10 respondents identified themselves as opponents of the tea party, but nearly as many considered themselves supporters.

North Carolinians were also asked to identify who they thought was the “head of the tea party.” Almost half indicated that they “don’t know” who is the head of it.

Other responses included:

  • There is no tea party head: 18 percent
  • Sarah Palin: 14 percent
  • Other person: 11 percent
  • Michele Bachmann: 5 percent
  • Republicans in Congress: 3 percent

Same-sex marriage amendment

Opposition to a proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, which North Carolina residents will vote on in the May primary, rose 1 percentage point since an Elon University Poll taken in September. The 37 percent of respondents who said they support the amendment is a decrease of two percentage points from the last poll, and both numbers remain within the margin of error.

Data from the three most recent polls asking on the topic include:

N.C. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage

  • November 2011: 57 percent oppose / 37 percent support
  • September 2011: 56 percent oppose / 39 percent support
  • February 2011: 56 percent oppose / 38 percent support

Oppose any legal recognition for same-sex couples:

  • November 2011: 35 percent
  • September 2011: 34 percent
  • February 2011: 35 percent

Support civil unions or partnerships, but not full marriage rights:

  • November 2011: 26 percent
  • September 2011: 29 percent
  • February 2011: 29 percent

Support full marriage rights:

  • November 2011: 33 percent
  • September 2011: 33 percent
  • February 2011: 28 percent


North Carolinians are not paying much attention to news surrounding “fracking” as a means of extracting natural gas in the state, according to the poll. Twenty percent of respondents said they paid “a great deal” or “some” attention to news on the issue. At the same time, 53 percent indicated they have paid “not very much” attention or “none at all” to the news.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involved drilling horizontally through underground shale deposits and filling the cavity with tremendous amounts of water and chemicals to break apart the rock and release the natural gas it contains.

WRAL News believes this is an important issue and encourages viewers to tune in to WRAL News at 6 p.m. Thursday as reporter Cullen Browder investigates fracking.


Seventy-eight percent of North Carolinians viewed having a public television service in North Carolina as important, according to the poll.

Respondents were also asked how often they watched UNC-TV in a typical week:

  • 14 percent said “never”
  • 26 percent said “rarely”
  • 39 percent said “sometimes”
  • 21 percent said “often”

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they believe news and public affairs programs broadcast on UNC-TV were trustworthy. Respondents were also asked whether they supported the use of state funding for UNC-TV:

  • 49 percent support state funding
  • 13 percent oppose state funding
  • 37 percent said they don’t know

This story is closed for comments.

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  • fishon Nov 8, 2011

    What, were the TP people supposedly 'working at a job' while they just stood their with their signs in protest?

    Maybe I missed it when the Tea Party assembled for weeks on end?

  • Here2tellya Nov 8, 2011

    They should all be required to have a permit to "Occupy"

  • krazikatt2 Nov 8, 2011

    "How much does it cost these people who have been camping out in NYC for the past weeks? They can't be part of the 99% if they can afford a vacation that lasts this long." Whatusay...

    HAHAHA yeah...I was wondering the same thing...

  • krazikatt2 Nov 8, 2011

    Whatusay...Actually that has never confused me..what DOES truly confuse me is people that claim to have love in their hearts based on their belief in God yet remain filled with hate toward any particular group based on stereotypes and misinformation and use their interpretation of their God as justification for that hate.

  • Dixiecrat Nov 8, 2011

    Elon polls always skew the results left. So for them to say the issue is divided means the middle is as far as they could skew the results from right to left and still try to have a "valid" poll.

  • 5Rs Nov 8, 2011

    "I want the opportunity to work hard and be to be rewarded for working hard. Those opportunities are gone" - Wingnut

    Here are a few similar quotes: "A few people might want cars, maybe 25"

    "Computers? What's that?"

    "That will never fly"

    There are many great opportunities out there in many fields, the risk takers will reap great rewards in the next twenty years, just like the last twenty.

  • whatusay Nov 8, 2011

    krazikatt2.... there's a difference in love and sex. You seem to be confused.

  • whatusay Nov 8, 2011

    godnessgracious2.... The reason America was founded was not to accomodate as meny poor people as possible. You seem to believe the reason for working is to be able to take care of the needy, lazy, welfare folks.....that's not why I work.

  • whatusay Nov 8, 2011

    How much does it cost these people who have been camping out in NYC for the past weeks? They can't be part of the 99% if they can afford a vacation that lasts this long.

  • EaglePride1989 Nov 8, 2011

    If there is one thing this poll proves, it's that the Occupy Movement cannot claim to be the 99% any more, at least in NC.