10/05/08 — State poll: Republicans are to blame for financial mess

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State poll: Republicans are to blame for financial mess

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 5, 2008 7:51 AM

Nearly half of respondents in a recent Elon University poll feel that the Republican Party is most reponsible for the current economic crisis, which many see as getting worse.

Of those polled, 48 percent blamed Republicans, while 24 percent blamed Democrats, while 13 percent blamed neither party.

Forty-five percent of respondents also indicated their belief that the national economy will worsen in the next year, while 37 percent believed the state economy will worsen -- both numbers up nearly 10 percentage points from two weeks ago.

When asked which presidential candidate would do a better managing the economy, only 44 percent favored Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, while 42 percent gave Republican Sen. John McCain the nod and 7 percent said neither.

Officials at the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs said that they believed the initial Republican votes against the federal government's bailout package may have hurt their image, as well as McCain's, in the state -- especially with 48 percent of respondents supporting it, and believing it will have a positive impact on the economy.

Forty percent of respondents opposed it.

However, 77 percent did agree that if the government assists financial institutions then there should be a cap on the pay of top executives, while only 15.5 percent opposed the idea.

Nearly 74 percent also agreed that more federal regulation of banks was needed as part of the government's plan, while only 17.6 percent disagreed.

Elon officials also speculated that the first presidential debate may have helped swing the results in Obama's favor -- particularly after support for the GOP outweighed support for Democrats by seven percentage points in a poll two weeks ago.

"North Carolina, follwing the national trend, is leaning Democrat for president," said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll. "Should this pattern prevail, the result would be a startling change in state presidential politics for more than one reason.

"Not only have the Democrats failed to win North Carolina in over 30 years, such a victory would mark a major milestone for the black community here and throughout the South."

Closer to home, Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole received a more favorable reaction than two weeks ago when only 46 percent of respondents called for a change, as compared to 51 percent in the earlier poll. Currently the Democratic Party is receiving support for the seat from 37 percent of respondent, with the Republican Party receiving support from 35 percent.

In the gubernatorial race, 37 percent of respondents supported the Republican Party, while 33 percent supported the Democratic Party.

The candidates, Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue also polled closely in terms of how well qualified they're perceived to be with 18 percent ranking Mrs. Perdue as highly qualified and 26 percent ranking McCrory as highly qualified.