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ELON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — More than half of North Carolina residents favor a variety of measures to regulate gun purchases in the United States, with the greatest support shown toward mandatory background checks for all individuals buying a firearm, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Nine out of 10 people in the state say they support background checks. Nearly as many (83 percent) support waiting periods before citizens can purchase handguns, and banning the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles (56 percent) and limiting the number of rounds of ammunition in clips or magazines (55 percent) also have the backing of a majority of North Carolina residents.

Democrats, women, African Americans and poll respondents with college degrees or higher were the most supportive of the measures.

Republicans generally support background checks (91 percent) and waiting periods (76 percent) but oppose banning assault rifles (only 38 percent support such a measure) and limiting the number of rounds in a magazine (35 percent support). More than half of all men (51 percent) oppose clip limits and bans on semi-automatic guns (56 percent).

The live-caller telephone poll of 891 residents was conducted Feb. 24-28, 2013, and has a margin of error of 3.28 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general with numbers that included both landlines and cellular phones.

“Support for background checks and waiting periods before purchasing a gun is very broad in North Carolina, but proposals to ban certain types of guns or large capacity magazines is less appealing to many citizens,” said Elon University Poll director Kenneth Fernandez.

Newly elected Republican Gov. Pat McCrory continues to receive high job approval numbers. In office less than two months, he has a job approval rating of 42 percent, compared to just 26 percent of respondents who disapprove of the way he handles the office.

However, one third of respondents said they were unsure of whether they approve or disapprove of the governor. Support falls along party lines. Sixty-one percent of Republicans approve of his performance, while only 26 percent of Democrats said the same. Among independents, McCrory’s job approval number is at 39 percent.

“Because the governor has held office for less than two months, it is not surprising that almost 32 percent of respondents said they were not sure whether they approved or disapproved of the Governor’s performance,” Fernandez said.

The General Assembly is a different story.

Only 33 percent of those surveyed said they approve of the job the state legislature is doing. Forty-one percent disapproved and 26 percent are unsure. Support for the GOP-controlled General Assembly was much higher among Republicans than Democrats (44 percent compared to 25 percent).

Nearly three out of four North Carolinians (72 percent) support the idea of requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to vote. The findings are consistent to an Elon University Poll conducted in March 2012 that found 74 percent of those surveyed supporting a photo identification requirement for voters.

This year respondents were asked if they possessed a driver’s license or other form of government-issued photo identification. More than 97 percent of respondents said they have some form of photo identification. In the few cases a respondent said they did not have a government issued photo ID, most were young (21 or younger), but a quarter of those without an ID were 65 or older.

The Elon University Poll also found that just over half of North Carolina residents (51 percent) believe immigrants today are a benefit to the state because of their hard work and job skills, while 38 percent felt immigrants are a burden because they use public services.

Eighty percent of respondents would support a program that provided undocumented immigrants living in the United States a pathway to become citizens if they meet certain requirements such as background checks and paying any fines or taxes.

Almost 89 percent of Democrats support such a pathway, and though Republicans also indicated they favor a program, that support was less intense at 69 percent. African Americans (63 percent) were more likely to see immigrants as a benefit to the state, as were respondents between the ages of 18 and 30 (as a group, 62 percent support a citizenship pathway).

“Our poll results show what many people have known for a while, which is that many North Carolinians have a generally positive view of immigrants,” Fernandez said. “One reason for this may be because North Carolina’s agricultural sector relies so heavily on immigrant labor. Another reason is that the size of the immigrant population in North Carolina is modest compared to many other states such as California, Arizona, Florida and Texas.”

Using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing lab on campus, Elon University conducts frequent regional and statewide surveys on issues of importance to North Carolinians as well as other Southern states. Information from these polls is shared with media, citizens and public officials to facilitate informed public policymaking through the better understanding of citizens’ opinions and attitudes.

Comment on this Story

  • Facts work

    Especially for someone who already owns a firearm. It also leaves huge liability risks as FFL dealers must then retain the firearm in a separate secured area, and could make for simple errors during an FFL ATF inspection. Further waiting periods do nothing to deter crime, they only leave purchasing a firearm for the first time should a person be threatened by another vulnerable and defenseless, because restraining orders don’t prevent violence, only make such action more punishable. Stop punishing the innocent and get tougher on criminals. If more criminals were killed by their would be victims in self defense, would be a whole lot less crime

  • MajorityRules

    It comforts me to know that the entire state isn’t JUST a bunch of brain dead rednecks but filled with regular folks who believe in reason.

  • Das Weibstück

    If the majority support these new laws PASS THEM. The minority is just that, they just piss n moan louder.

  • robo

    The fact is that the majority do not agee with this poll, which is liberally biased.

  • Guesttenheimer

    891 respondents from a liberal college doesn’t represent anything of any sort of majority. That wouldn’t even be a majority of the metropolis of Burgawwww.

  • robo

    Elon has a liberal college reputation and the poll it conducted does not represent the majority of the citizens of the state. Their poll does not correlate with others taken, which show more accurately how Americans really feel about guns and illegal immigrants.

  • B M

    When you see these type polls you realize how brain dead people are to believe the results, these polls can be slewed to make them any way the pollster want’s the results, smoke and mirrors, gun owners will always support background checks, I for one would like to see a “VALID” background check on “Barry Sorontos” , and I would like to see a valid poll on whether or not we support “ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION” AND MAKING THEM LEGAL! I’d also like to see a poll on how many people believe the DHS had a right too release 3000 illegal immigrants already incarcerated and awaiting deportation because the admainistration chose sequestration instead of a budget. And I’d also like to see a valid poll on John Kdrry handing over $250 million taxpayer dollars to Egypt this week, don’t believe any polls the left advocates.

  • Guest1234567890

    Why would WWAY waste their time on this? Elon College polls are always heavily skewed to the left, and have been for years. Their bias is no secret. The only people who believe them probably donate to Moveon.org.

  • Vog46

    Funny how when people see polls they agree with “It must be accurate”, if it doesn’t agree with your position “it’s asking the wrong questions”, or “its from a liberal/conservatives source”.
    We went through this with the ballpark. The 3 Civitas polls – with only 300 respondents each were far more accurate then the polling conducted by NSS – remember?
    I’m not sure a waiting period is the answer.
    But background checks?
    In order to protect the integrity of current gun owners I would favor background checking for all gun purchases. Good law biding citizens have nothing to fear from a background check. I have never had a problem showing an ID for any reason so I favor photo ID’s for voting as well.
    The Supreme Court has ruled that gun ownership can be legally regulated. It’s the degree of regulation that is bothering so many.
    I look at it this way – if background checking prevents just one criminal or one nutcase from getting a gun, it’s worth it. That is one less nut or one less criminal I have to wonder about……


  • Guestish

    The survey was done with computer-assisted phones. The survey used North Carolina phone numbers, not students.
    ~900 people is not an ideal sample number, but lots of people don’t answer unknown numbers.
    Try again.

  • Kendra

    Actually, NC has about the fifth largest illegal population in the country. And this poll is misleading. It asked only if people support (yes/no) a path to citizenship with no other options.

    In all other polls where a third option is presented – where illegal aliens are encouraged to return home on their own by shutting off the jobs/taxpayer entitlement magnets, the majority choose that option.

    Americans want illegal aliens to return home, but they also want to appear to be compassionate, which is exactly what the open borders activists are counting on in their quest for amnesty.


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