MEDIA RELEASE: NC Policy Watch polling results show voters support North Carolina workers

NC Policy Watch polling results show voters support North Carolina workers
Voters support extending benefits for unemployed workers, oppose budget proposals that cut education jobs

RALEIGH (April 21, 2011) – Voters strongly support extending benefits for unemployed workers and oppose efforts by state lawmakers to advance a bill linking those benefits to state budget cuts, a new poll released by NC Policy Watch reveals.

According to the poll, voters support extending unemployment benefits for another 20 weeks to North Carolinians who have been laid off (65 percent favored, 32 percent opposed).

The poll also questioned voters about the bill advanced by the General Assembly that attached unemployment benefits to cutting the state budget by 13 percent in 2012. The poll showed that voters believe lawmakers should have been able to vote on the unemployment extension independently (66 percent favored, 22 percent opposed), and agreed with Gov. Bev Perdue’s decision to veto the bill in an effort to keep the unemployed extension and budget cuts separate (65 percent favored).

A majority of voters oppose cuts to public services, including the elimination of thousands of teachers’ assistant positions and jobs in the university system. Given the choices of cutting taxes and eliminating 8,200 teachers’ assistant positions or leaving taxes at the current levels, 66 percent of voters preferred to maintain current tax levels and avoid cutting teaching jobs.

The poll also showed that an overwhelming majority of voters – 84 percent – believe lawmakers should not approve a bill requested by loan companies that would allow them to charge an annual interest rate of 90 percent. North Carolina law currently limits the annual interest rate on consumer loans to around 54 percent.
Each month, the staff of NC Policy Watch develops a series of questions on timely issues impacting state policy debates that are then vetted and posed to registered voters by the nationally recognized, Raleigh-based polling firm Public Policy Polling.

From April 19-20, PPP surveyed nearly 800 registered voters throughout North Carolina regarding their attitudes on some of the high-profile issues currently before the General Assembly – including unemployment benefits and the bill that linked extending those benefits to the 2012 budget cuts. The poll also gauged the opinions of voters on proposed cuts to education positions, federal student loans, raising annual interest rates on consumer loans, and the issue of reintegrating ex-criminal offenders into society.

Full results of the poll are available online at: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/NCPolicyWatchP...

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Rob Schofield, NC Policy Watch, (919) 861-2065, rob@ncpolicywatch.com