Local News

Poll: N.C. residents want guns, offshore drilling, video poker

Posted April 26, 2010 2:32 p.m. EDT
Updated April 26, 2010 2:58 p.m. EDT

— Despite a fatal explosion on an offshore drilling platform last week that led to an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the majority of North Carolina residents continue to favor drilling for oil and gas off the state's coast, according to a poll released Monday.

The Elon University Poll also found that a growing number of state residents want video poker legalized in North Carolina again, few want restrictions on gun ownership and many supported beefing up ethics rules for state workers. The poll surveyed 607 people statewide last week and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed support oil and gas drilling off the North Carolina coast, down slightly from the 66 percent who supported the idea a year ago. Part of the poll was conducted after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the Louisiana coast last Wednesday, killing 11 workers and causing a growing environmental hazard as oil continues to leak from an undersea wellhead.

The majority of respondents also favor increasing the use of nuclear power, federal funding for research into wind, solar and hydrogen power and expanding urban mass transit systems.

Those surveyed were evenly split on whether North Carolina should allow video poker back into the state. Lawmakers banned the games four years ago, except on the Cherokee lands.

Forty-six percent say video poker should be legal, compared with 38 percent a year ago. Still, only 35 percent of respondents said they support making video poker available statewide. Forty-five percent say the games should remain illegal.

On the subject of guns, 49 percent of respondents said people should be allowed to own semiautomatic handguns, and 56 percent said people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons. Only 18 percent support banning handgun sales.

When it comes to proposed ethics rules for state workers, many of those surveyed believe the ideas are good. Gov. Beverly Perdue has called for rules like banning gifts from companies with state contracts, requiring employees to identify conflicts of interest and forcing workers to wait a year after leaving a state agency before lobbying the government or working for a business they used to regulate.

About 20 percent of respondents said the required waiting period for lobbyists and forcing state workers to forfeit their pensions if convicted of felonies tied to their positions would be too strict, while 20 percent said the idea of forcing workers to resign if they were charged with a felony or refused to cooperate with a criminal investigation is too lenient.