Political Notebook: State survey shows majority of voters confident in election process
By Natalie Anderson
RALEIGH — A statewide survey among North Carolina voters show a majority believe the elections were conducted fairly and that “civic engagement is up.”
A post-election poll released Thursday from the conservative nonprofit advocacy organization Civitas Institute asked likely voters in the state, “How confident are you that the 2020 election in North Carolina was held fairly,” which resulted in more than two-thirds responding that they felt confident. Of the 513 likely voters surveyed, 48% said they felt “very confident,” 20% said they felt “somewhat confident,” 14% said they felt “not too confident” and 17% said they felt “not at all confident.”
The survey showed that those who voted for President Donald Trump, are registered Republicans and/or identify as “very conservative” are among those who were most likely to express concern about election fairness.
Additionally, voters that indicated they spent more time researching candidates were more likely to trust the outcome of the election.
“While we want the confidence level in our elections to be closer to 100%, it’s heartening that a wide majority of North Carolina voters believe that such a contentious election cycle was administered fairly,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “Looking into the demographics, there is a division on this topic between self-described ‘very’ and ‘somewhat’ conservative voters, with ‘somewhat’ conservatives saying they believe the election was fair.”
Voters were also asked how much time they spent researching candidates compared to previous elections. While 57% stated they spent about the same amount of time researching candidates compared to previous elections, nearly one-third, or 31%, spent more time researching candidates. Only 10% indicated that they spent less time researching candidates.
Additionally, unaffiliated voters, high education voters, those that identify as “somewhat conservative” and 18-34-year olds were most likely to report that they spent more time researching candidates down the ballot, according to the poll.
Voters were also asked about their preferences on a unified or divided government. A majority, or 49%, indicated they preferred a “divided government, in which the governor and the majority in at least one of the (chambers) of the state legislature are from different parties.” Meanwhile, 41% stated they prefer a “unified government in which the governor and majorities in both (chambers) of the state legislature are from the same party.”
“Democracy is, by nature, messy,” Bryson said in a statement about the poll. “However, these results show the beauty of an election cycle. When nearly one-third of voters say they spent more time researching candidates and issues, it is a sign of stronger civic engagement.”
The Civitas Institute is a nonprofit policy organization based in Raleigh.
Report: Rep. Hudson backs Trump’s challenge of election results
WASHINGTON — Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, last week was among several veteran GOP lawmakers quoted in a CNN article about the GOP’s growing concern over President Donald Trump and his campaign’s attempt to overturn the election results.
The article, published on Friday, stated that more Republicans continue to speak out against the Trump campaign’s efforts, particularly concerned about the U.S. pandemic response and undercutting a “key pillar of democracy.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Rep. Kay Granger, R-TX; and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, were among those.
Hudson said states should delay certifying the results until all the allegations have been adequately investigated.
“I mean, it’s breathtaking to think about,” he said. “And if it’s not true, then there needs to be a reckoning on our side.”
Hudson represents North Carolina’s eighth congressional district, and defeated Democrat challenger Pat Timmons-Goodson, the first Black woman to serve on the state Supreme Court. Before North Carolina’s congressional districts were redrawn in 2019, parts of Rowan County were included in the eighth district.
Newly elected state Republican Caucus hold first meeting, elect leadership team
RALEIGH — Members of the newly elected N.C. Republican Caucus held their first meeting on Nov. 16 to elect the leadership team for the 2020-21 legislative session scheduled to begin on Jan. 13.
The following representatives were elected to serve in leadership positions:
• Rep. Tim Moore, of Cleveland County, was voted Speaker of the House
• Rep. Sarah Stevens, of Surry County, will return as Speaker Pro-Tem
• Rep. John Bell IV, of Wayne County, will remain House Majority Leader
• Rep. Brenden Jones, of Robeson County, will serve as Deputy Majority Leader
• Rep. Jon Hardister, of Guilford County, will again serve as Majority Whip
• Rep. John Szoka, of Cumberland County, will return as Caucus Conference Leader
• Rep. Pat Hurley, of Randolph County, will serve as Joint Caucus Leader
Due to the pandemic, members of both parties have been asked to take their oaths in their respective districts rather than the House floor. The oaths will still be administered on Jan. 13, but only House members will be allowed on the House floor. Past tradition has allowed for a loved one, spouse, family member or friend to hold the Bible for the representative, according to Rep. Harry Warren, R-76.
Following the Jan. 13 ceremony, the General Assembly will adjourn until Feb. 3 and begin the legislative session. In the meantime, legislators are crafting legislation they intend to introduce during the session.
Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.