Poll: NC divided on federal health care law

Posted February 28, 2011 10:55 a.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2011 12:03 p.m. EST

— North Carolina residents are split over the year-old federal health care reform law, but majorities favor many of the law's individual elements, according to a poll released Monday.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 467 people statewide Feb. 20-24 on issues like health care reform, video poker and the state Alcoholic Beverage Control system. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 39 percent support it. Less than one in four said they would like the entire law repealed, while 18 percent want portions of it thrown out and 14 percent said they like the law as is.

Majorities of respondents, ranging from 55 to 78 percent, said they support five of seven major provisions in the bill, including providing financial assistance to help low-income people obtain health insurance and requiring wealthy people to pay more for Medicare coverage.

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed opposed the so-called "individual mandate," which requires people to buy health insurance or face fines, beginning in 2014.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly approved a measure last week that would exempt North Carolina residents from the individual mandate and order Attorney General Roy Cooper to join a lawsuit filed by several other states challenging the federal law.

Cooper said the legislation is unenforceable, and his concerns have led Gov. Beverly Perdue to consider a possible veto of the bill.

The Elon poll found that 44 percent of residents support the General Assembly's challenge to the law, while 33 percent oppose it.

Regarding the ABC system, 52 percent of those surveyed oppose privatizing liquor sales, while 37 percent back it. Support for changing the system has dwindled in the past year, from 38 percent in a March 2010 poll to 29 percent.

A majority of those surveyed said video poker should be legal in North Carolina, while 39 percent said it should continue to be banned. Last April, the results were much closer, with 46 percent in favor of video poker and 45 percent against it.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they favor legalizing Internet sweepstakes games, while 42 percent oppose such a move. Fifty-two percent they support the idea of North Carolina regulating and taxing sweepstakes games.

Opposition to same-sex marriage in North Carolina appears to be waning. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said they are against any legal recognition of same-sex couples, down from 44 percent in a March 2009 poll. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who favor allowing same-sex marriage has grown from 21 percent in March 2009 to 28 percent.

Fifty-six percent of respondents oppose an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage, while 38 percent would support it.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they favor the idea of requiring photo identification to vote in the state. Lawmakers are considering such legislation.