Local Politics

Poll: Majority of N.C. voters dislike bailout

Posted October 10, 2008 11:28 a.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2008 7:55 p.m. EDT

— More than half of North Carolina voters disapprove of the recent $700 billion federal bailout of the U.S. financial industry, and they are evenly split on whether the move will help or hurt the economy, according to a new WRAL News poll.

Polling firm Rasmussen Reports surveyed 700 self-described likely voters statewide on Wednesday and found that 51 percent disagreed with the plan for the government to buy up bad assets from banks to stabilize the economy. Twenty-one percent agreed with the plan, while the remaining respondents said they weren't sure about it.

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

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said the plan would boost the economy, while the same percentage said it would hurt the economy. Thirty percent said they didn't think the bailout would affect the economy at all.

With less than a month until the election, the economy remains the No. 1 concern among voters. Forty-six percent of those surveyed ranked the economy as the most important issue in the presidential election, far outpacing national security, which 20 percent cited.

The presidential race in North Carolina remains tight between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Obama holds a 49 to 48 percent lead in the poll, compared with a 50 to 47 percent lead in a WRAL News poll conducted a week ago.

"I think you got a candidate on the Democratic side that excites new voters," David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College, said of Obama. "Again, if you look at voter registration totals, a lot of them are new voters."

Obama leads McCain among voters under age 30 by a 56 to 40 margin.

In a Friday morning interview with WRAL News, Obama made a pitch to the few undecided voters in North Carolina by pointing to the continuing instability on Wall Street.

"If people are more satisfied now than they were four years ago or eight years ago with the economy – their jobs, their health care, their homes – then they should vote for John McCain because he wants to continue those policies," Obama said via satellite from Ohio. "If you think we need a fundamental change to bring jobs back to North Carolina, then I hope that you'll give the Obama-(Joe) Biden ticket a chance."

McCain's campaign didn't respond Friday to requests for an interview.

Almost two-thirds of Obama's supporters cited the economy as the most important issue in the election, compared with 31 percent of McCain's backers. Nearly three-quarters of McCain's supporters cited national security as the top issue, compared with 26 percent of Obama's backers.

"Obama's numbers kind of go up every time there's a job loss in North Carolina," McLennan said.

In the Senate race, state Sen. Democrat Kay Hagan holds a 49 to 44 percent lead over Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

"It's understandable why (Hagan is) doing so well. I mean, Elizabeth Dole has been linked to (President) George Bush, and George Bush is not really helping any Republican candidate," McLennan said.

Like Obama, Hagan leads among young voters and those most concerned about the economy. About two-thirds of her supporters cite the economy as the top issue – almost double Dole's numbers. Meanwhile, 66 percent of Dole's backers list national security as most important – more than double Hagan's numbers.