Local News

Poll: Mixed Results on Race, Gender, Age in Presidential Election

Posted April 18, 2008 12:26 p.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2008 3:32 p.m. EDT

— Most North Carolina residents say race, gender and age will not have an impact on their vote in the upcoming presidential election.

But more than half of respondents in the latest Elon University Poll say they know someone whose decision will be tied to at least one of these characteristics.

Ninety-one percent of those surveyed said race does not make a difference in how they vote; 79 percent said a candidate's gender makes no difference; and 66 percent said they do not factor age in their decision.

But when asked if they knew someone who would not vote for a candidate based on those attributes, 64 percent of respondents said they knew someone who would not vote for a woman; 54 percent said they knew someone who would not vote for a black candidate; and 44 percent said they knew someone who would not vote for someone they'd consider "too old."

The candidate most identified to be favorable or extremely favorable was Republican Sen. John McCain with 52 percent, followed by Democratic Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with 49 and 44 percent, respectively.

While race, gender and age reportedly have minimal effects on voting decisions, the top three qualities citizens say influence their votes were experience, exaggerated statements and personality.

Governor's Race

In the race for N.C. governor, the competition between Democrats Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore will likely come down to voters who have yet to choose a candidate. The two are tied in terms of approval – 31 percent of citizens say they approved or strongly approved of the candidates – but 40 percent remain undecided.

Republican Pat McCrory has a 29 percent approval rating, the highest of candidates in his party. Nearly 60 percent of voters have yet to pick a favorite in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Senate Race

More than half of voters surveyed approved of the job Senator Elizabeth Dole is doing. She had a 56 percent satisfaction rate and is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.

The Democrats in that race are not as familiar to the voters. 58 percent had not formed an opinion about State Senator Kay Hagan; 62 percent said the same about investment banker Jim Neal.

The poll, conducted April 13-17, 2008, by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 543 North Carolina residents. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

The sample is of the population in general and does not restrict respondents by their voter eligibility or their likelihood of voting in an election.