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HPU/News and Record Poll: North Carolinians Split on Religious Exemptions for Same Sex Marriages

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The High Point University/News and Record Poll finds North Carolinians split over whether or not religious exemptions should be allowed for public officials such as magistrates and register of deeds who do not want to facilitate same sex marriage. Forty-eight percent say the religious exemptions should not be allowed, while 43 percent say the exemptions should be allowed. The North Carolina Senate recently passed a bill that allows magistrates to opt out of performing wedding ceremonies when doing so conflicts with religious beliefs. The bill is now being passed onto the House.

The poll also finds that 67 percent do not support raising the state gasoline tax to pay for highway improvements and 31 percent do support such a tax increase. Sixty-four percent support some sales tax revenue being diverted from wealthy counties to poor counties and 30 percent do not.

"These questions taken together show that North Carolinians are neither entirely polarized nor entirely in agreement about these issues," says Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and assistant professor of political science. "They are split on this issue of religious exemptions for public officials who do not support same sex marriage. At the same time, we find relatively decisive majorities both opposing a tax increase but willing to change the way current revenue is allocated. We see this complexity of opinion in many of areas we have polled this spring."

All adults – Same Sex Marriage (Late February 2015)

Should public officials such as magistrates and registers of deeds be allowed to claim a religious exemption rather than facilitating same sex marriages?
Yes – 43 percent
No – 48 percent
Don't know/refuse – 9 percent
(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 21-26, n = 513 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

All Adults – Taxes (Late February 2015)

Please tell me whether you would support them or not support them. Raise the state gasoline tax to pay for highway improvements.
Support – 31 percent
Not Support – 67 percent
Don't know/refuse – 2 percent
(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 21-26, n = 513 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

All Adults – Taxes (Late February 2015)

Please tell me whether you would support them or not support them. Divert some sales-tax revenue from wealthy counties to poor counties.
Support – 64 percent
Not Support – 30 percent
Don't know/refuse – 7 percent
(All adult (North Carolina resident) sample surveyed Feb. 21-26, n = 513 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.3 percent)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Feb. 21-26, 2015. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 513 adults with landline or cellular telephones. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.3 percentage points for all adult respondents. The data are weighted toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2015/03/36memoB.pdf.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR's Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald serves as the assistant director of the HPU Poll.

CONTACT: Pam Haynes Director of Media Relations 336-841-9055; phaynes@highpoint.edu

Source:High Point University