Poll: Two-thirds of North Carolinians worried about crime
A new Civitas poll finds that 66% of North Carolina voters are concerned about crime and safety in their neighborhoods.
The results drop as a number of cities in the Tar Heel State have experienced crime surges after the COVID-19 pandemic. Crime has plagued downtown Raleigh in recent months, while Asheville and Wilmington have experienced their own crime challenges. Across the state, the number of juvenile offenders is also up.
Drug-related crime tops voters’ list of worrisome trends, with 54% of respondents to the poll saying it was the most pressing issue. Property crime came in at 40% and violent crime at 35%.
“As North Carolina continues to experience a population and investment boom, municipalities will have both the opportunity and challenge of ensuring that public safety investment is prioritized,” said Donald Bryson, CEO of the John Locke Foundation. “We’ve seen the decline in states with cities like San Francisco and Chicago, where crime goes unpunished. State and local leaders need to be proactive in ensuring our state remains safe and trusted as a good place to do business and raise a family.”
Despite these trends, most voters continue to back the blue in supporting the performance of local law enforcement. Fifty-seven percent said police were doing an “excellent” or “good” job, while 24% said “fair” and 10% “poor.”
Turning to state politics, the Civitas poll found that 85% of voters want some level of term limits for leaders of the NC House and Senate. The most popular pick was two terms — or four years — at 47%, followed by four terms at 19%, three terms at 18%, and one term at 9%. Just 5% said they were opposed to term limits.
The results dropped the same day that House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, announced that he would not seek another term in office. Moore is the longest serving House leader in state history.
“The current leaders of the General Assembly are some of the longest tenured in the nation, and in state history,” said Bryson. “There is a broader appetite for legislative reform, as seen with the filing of Senate Bill 394 this session, and that conversation is overdue. Any move for legislative reform will almost certainly include a term limits conversation, and it’s clear that voters are in favor.”
Republicans continue to enjoy an advantage on a generic ballot for congressional and legislative offices. Forty-seven percent of respondents would pick the GOP in state legislative and congressional races, compared to 44% for Democrats.
Even so, many voters take a dim view of both parties in the General Assembly. Thirty-eight percent have a favorable view of Republicans and Democrats, while 46% have an unfavorable view of Republicans and 44% have an unfavorable opinion of Democrats.
The poll was conducted September 24-25 and surveyed 600 likely general election voters.