Local Politics

Poll: McCain, Clinton Best to Solve U.S. Problems

Posted April 21, 2008 11:07 a.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2008 11:52 a.m. EDT

— Democrats are better able to solve most of the problems facing the nation, but Republican presidential candidate John McCain is seen as the best candidate to address most pressing issues, according to a poll released Monday.

The Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, which surveyed 543 North Carolina residents last week, also found the economy and gas prices to be the top concerns statewide. The poll has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

Those surveyed said they believed Democrats would do a better job handling issues like the economy, the housing crisis, health care, education and the Iraq War. Republicans were given the nod only on the issue of immigration.

When questioned about individual candidates, however, respondents said McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, was best suited to handling the war, the economy, taxes and other issues. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was seen as best to handle health care and education, while her rival for the nomination, Barack Obama, wasn't viewed by those polled as most capable of handling any of the issues.

“Interesting in these results are the obvious contrasts expressed by citizens,” Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. “On the one hand, they differ between favored party and favored candidate, but on the other, they are quite resolute about where things stand and why.”

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said the economy is the most important issue facing North Carolina, up from 30 percent two months ago. Gas prices placed second at more than 9 percent, up from 2 percent in February, while education was third at more than 8 percent, down from 12 percent.

The environment, including the drought, fell from third place in February to sixth in the latest poll, from being listed by 10 percent to being picked by less than 5 percent.

Four of five people polled said they believe the country is on the wrong track, and almost three-quarters said the economy would influence their votes for president. More than half said the economy also would influence their votes for North Carolina governor.

More than two-thirds of respondents said the war and health-care costs also would affect their votes for president. Education, health-care costs and taxes were seen as other issues that would affect the gubernatorial election, according to the poll.