WRAL News poll: Voters give GOP-led legislature thumbs down

Posted March 21, 2012

— Republicans won control of the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010 for the first time in more than a century, but voters don't think they're doing a good job in charge, according to a new WRAL News poll.

SurveyUSA polled 1,703 registered voters last Friday through Tuesday and found that state lawmakers have a 22 percent approval rating. Fifty-four percent disapprove of the job the legislature is doing, while 24 percent aren't sure whether they like the way the General Assembly is operating or not.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Lawmakers were so universally panned in the poll that even 51 percent of registered Republicans disapprove of the GOP-led legislature, according to the poll. That's almost equal to the 58 percent of Democrats and independents who disapprove.

The approval rating among men is 26 percent, while its 19 percent among women. Black voters, who traditionally favor Democrats, gave the General Assembly a higher approval rating than whites, at 26 percent versus 21 percent.

Although older voters usually trend more conservative, they are apparently more dissatisfied with lawmakers than younger ones, according to the poll. The approval rating dropped from 26 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds to 19 percent among those 65 and older.

About half of those who identify themselves as conservative disapprove of the General Assembly's job performance, compared with more than two-thirds of those calling themselves liberal. Fifty-three percent of moderates disapprove, as do 47 percent of voters in the tea party movement.

Democratic consultant Brad Crone said the poll show voters are frustrated with both parties. He said he thinks Republican lawmakers are alienating moderate voters, especially on education.

"Clearly, the Republicans have a huge problem connecting with voters on education policies in the state. We're seeing it in the gubernatorial race. You're seeing it in legislative races," Crone said.

North Carolina State University political science professor Andrew Taylor said most people statewide don't really follow the General Assembly, so it's hard to say if the poll is an indictment of policy choices.

"More of this has to do with the fact that people are just disgruntled, period," Taylor said. "They are worried about the economy, they are insecure about their future and who's to blame? Well, any governmental institution."

He said he doesn't see the kind of voter dissatisfaction this year that he saw in 2010, so he expects Republicans will keep control of the legislature this fall.

Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, said he doesn't think the poll has much to do with issues.

"You're asking a question about a faceless group of legislators – 'the General Assembly,' which is government – and the first thing people think about government is bad," Rucho said.

A lot of voters don't realize how much GOP leaders have accomplished, he said.

"We've done some great things," he said. "Once they're aware of this, I think the 22 percent will probably go up."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • PanthersFan45 Mar 22, 2012

    I wasn't polled and probably would never be since I have no LAN line. I would have been in the minority here because I like some of the cutting the NC republicans have been doing. I think if there were tax increases things could be worse here. Yes some will argue that the penny sales tax isn't bankrupting anyone, but I think it's helped push schools to weed out some waste and that's NOT a bad thing.

  • nowon_yuno Mar 22, 2012

    When did the distinguished Senator from Nevada join the NC Legislature?....

    Usually on these boards, the finger pointing starts in at NC government then continues onto Washington DC government. I get what you are saying, so I hope you understand what I meant

  • seankelly15 Mar 22, 2012

    nowon_yuno - "Right where they have always been, on Harry Reids desk collecting dust"

    When did the distinguished Senator from Nevada join the NC Legislature? Those Republicans who ran for the NC LEGISLATURE in 2010 promised that the issue was jobs. The poster is asking where the jobs bill are? We have seen a ton of meaningless social conservative bills aimed at marriage, voting, home-schooling, birth control, etc. but nothing dealing with jobs - other than the cutting of funds to education and state government which has led to lay-offs - was this their jobs bill?

  • nowon_yuno Mar 22, 2012

    I thought unemployment numbers were down and things are coming back, why are all you lefties saying different now is it because it fits the template of the story?

  • nowon_yuno Mar 22, 2012

    Heck...where are the jobs bills they promised?

    Right where they have always been, on Harry Reids desk collecting dust

  • Crumps Br0ther Mar 22, 2012

    Where are all the jobs the Republicans promised? Heck...where are the jobs bills they promised?

    The economy is coming back remember? You post tons of links everyday regarding that and employment numbers. So what are you saying, those are lies now?

  • Jim Britt Mar 22, 2012

    We all long for the days of no public education, a 40 year life expectancy, 25% infant mortality and $2000 dollar a year incomes; when men were men and those other people knew their places. Ah the good old days. We sorely miss them. It's hard to imagine what's wrong with the 54% percent who disapprove. This legislature is working hard to take us back to those glory days. Just hang in there. Vote Republican and vote often.

  • SMAPAEA Mar 22, 2012

    What "great things" has our General Assembly done? Still no more jobs, still higher gas prices, now tolls...yea...they are doing a BANG-UP job.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Mar 22, 2012

    "The solution is to not be fooled again. By not voting dems back in"

    Where are all the jobs the Republicans promised? Heck...where are the jobs bills they promised?

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Mar 22, 2012

    "Democrats started the KKK...The Republican President Lincoln freed the slaves! Educate yourself!"

    Yes, and those democrats became Republicans during the Civil Rights era. The Republicans like Lincoln are dead and gone, or have become Democrats. Yes, you really should educate yourself, 1secondlook, and prehaps read a history text for something more than jsut a one second look.