Local News

Poll: Recession hit 70% of N.C. residents

Posted April 27, 2009 11:28 a.m. EDT

— Most North Carolina residents have felt the pinch of the economic downturn, with many losing money in the stock market, seeing the value of their homes plummet or having their work curtailed, according to a poll released Monday.

The Elon University Poll interviewed 662 people in North and South Carolina between April 19 and April 23 and found a majority of residents feel too much attention has been focused on propping up banks and the auto industry, while homeowners and small-business owners have gotten short shrift. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

More than 70 percent of North Carolinians surveyed said the recession had affected them, with 57 percent losing money in the stock market, 44 percent losing more than a quarter of the value in their retirement account and 42 percent seeing their homes decline in value. Eleven percent said they had lost a job, 24 percent have had their hours cut at work and 15 percent have lost their health insurance, according to the poll.

Fifty-one percent of state respondents said they thought the federal stimulus package would help the U.S. economy, but 42 percent remain opposed to the government's attempt to revive the economy.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in North Carolina said too much has been given to large banks, and 66 percent said the auto industry has gotten too much government support. Meanwhile, two-thirds said small-business owners struggling to stay in business have gotten too little from the government, and 52 percent said homeowners facing foreclosure also have received little support from the government.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they support the idea of government aid to homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages.

About half of those surveyed said they disapprove of giving government money to prop up failing banks, and 79 percent said they think banks are struggling because of poor decisions by management.

“There is definitely a sense of skepticism about the economy,” Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement. “There appears to be a pervasive sentiment that citizens’ personal plights are being neglected, and as a result, they are growing more disgruntled with measures taken to address the ailing economy.”