Local Politics

Poll: NC split on Obama jobs bill

Posted October 3, 2011 11:43 a.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2011 12:17 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina residents are fairly evenly divided over President Barack Obama's $447 billion plan to create jobs, according to a poll released Monday.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 594 people statewide last week and found that 36 percent want their representatives in Congress to vote the proposal down, while 35 percent called for congressional support of the measure. More than one in four are undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Obama's American Jobs Act calls for lowering payroll taxes for individuals and businesses, tax credits for hiring and investment and higher taxes on large corporations and the wealthy. During a visit to Raleigh last month, the president said the proposal would benefit 170,000 North Carolina businesses and would put thousands of teachers, construction workers and others back to work.

“Given the current economic situation and levels of unemployment in the state, citizens are paying close attention to any proposal that may bring jobs and economic stability to the state,” Mileah Kromer, assistant director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. “For the president, the jobs bill isn’t just about growing the economy, it’s also about convincing voters that he deserves another four years in office.”

According to the poll, the majority of North Carolina residents wouldn't give Obama another term in next year's election.

Fifty-one percent said they disapprove of his overall performance, with 57 percent saying they don't like the way he has handled the economy. Forty-two percent of respondents said they approve of Obama's job performance, but only 37 percent said he has done an acceptable job with the economy.

Twice as many people – 44 percent to 22 percent – said Obama's economic policies have made conditions in the U.S. worse rather than better, with 31 percent responding that the policies have had no effect on the nation's economy. Almost two-fifths said they expect the economy to get worse in the coming months.

More than a third of those polled say they are worse off economically than a year ago, compared with just 18 percent for whom things have improved. Still, only 21 percent say they expect things to get worse in the coming year, while 39 percent say their situation will improve.

“Presidential re-election rates are closely tied to the real and perceived health of the national economy,” Kromer said. “With more than a third of North Carolinians saying they are worse off than they were last year and half of them disapproving of Obama’s management of the national economy, President Obama will face a tough re-election battle in the Tar Heel State if economic conditions fail to improve over the next year.”

Those polled had even harsher opinions of Capitol Hill, with 82 percent saying they disapprove of the way Congress does its job. Republicans hold a slim lead over Democrats – 31 to 28 percent – as to who is doing a better job, but more than a third of respondents said neither party has much to boast about.

About 42 percent said they approve of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's job performance, while 38 percent gave U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan a thumbs-up for her performance, according to the poll. U.S. House members from North Carolina have a 43 percent approval rating among those polled.