Local News

Survey: Voters Have Little Knowledge About Elected Officials

Posted June 23, 2005

— According a voter survey released Thursday by the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, more Tar Heel voters can name this year's American Idol winner than most of their statewide elected leaders.

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With the exception of the governor, fewer than 10 percent of voters could name a Council of State official.

Somewhere between 10 percent and 17 percent of voters could name the attorney general as Roy Cooper. Newly elected State Auditor Les Merritt was recognized by only two percent. There may be a silver lining for long-time State Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, who is a familiar name to around 20 percent of polled voters, but still ranks two percentage points higher than this year's "American Idol," Carrie Underwood.

Ninety-five percent believe campaign contributions influence the way elected officials make decisions. Seventy-seven percent believe the cost of campaigning keeps qualified people from running for office.

Two state senators from opposing parties are sponsoring a bill to reform the campaign system.

One suggestion is offering limited public financing to candidates who forego special interest money.

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