Raleigh, N.C. – As revelations of free dinners, trips and other scandals with the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system ripple through North Carolina, voters are deeply divided on whether to keep the system as is or to turn it over to private business.
According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 47 percent of respondents say leave the state-run ABC system in place, while 44 percent said the system should be privatized. Nine percent were not sure.
“Despite the recent headlines of free gifts and excessive salaries, voters in North Carolina do not seem ready to abandon the current ABC system for privately-run liquor stores,” said Civitas Institute Executive Director Francis De Luca. “If privatization is going to be on the table as one of the options for reforming the ABC system, leaders are going to have to step forward and make the case to the public that change is necessary.”
When looking at responses by party affiliation, voters are divided. Democrats favor keeping the current system 53-37% while unaffiliated voters favor privatization by a 56-40% margin. Republicans are evenly divided 45-45% on the issue.
However, when breaking the voters down by religion, signs of a divide emerge. 57 percent of Baptists favor keeping the ABC system while 66 percent of Catholics favor privatization.
“While some pundits may talk of a new North Carolina and how much it has changed demographically, it is still a state strongly tied to its conservative religious history as part of the Bible Belt,” added De Luca.
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. Civitas will host its monthly poll luncheon on Wednesday, January 27 at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Raleigh. For more polling information on Civitas polling see www.nccivitas.org/media/poll-results/.
Full text of question:
Currently in North Carolina, bottles of hard liquor are only available for purchase in state-owned ABC stores. Some have called for the system to be changed to allow private businesses to sell liquor. Do you believe the system should be kept the way it is currently or should the system be changed to allow private businesses to operate liquor stores?
Limit to ABC – 47%
Private Businesses – 44%
Not Sure – 9%
This poll of 600 likely general election voters in North Carolina was conducted Jan. 19-21 by Tel Opinion Research of Arlington, Virginia. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.