Raleigh, N.C. – Only one third of voters think the average elected official in North Carolina is ethical and honest according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.
According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, 50 percent of voters surveyed said they thought the average elected official is unethical and dishonest, 34 percent said they thought they were ethical and honest, and 15 percent of voters said they were not sure.
Voters in all political parties agreed that the average elected official is unethical and dishonest: Democrats 46% – 35%, Republicans 55% – 33%, and unaffiliateds 50% – 33%.
“Voters are viewing elected officials in a more negative light. Less than two years ago voters had a net positive impression of the average elected official in North Carolina,” said Civitas Institute Executive Director Francis De Luca. “The continuous headlines of corruption, back room deals and the appearance that government can be bought and sold has soured voters’ opinion of lawmakers.”
In a Civitas poll in May 2008, 44 percent of voters said the average elected official was ethical and honest while 40 percent said unethical and dishonest.
There is a distinct difference in opinion on this subject based on where you think the direction of North Carolina is headed. Among voters who say North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction (54 percent of voters), 65 percent say the average elected official is dishonest and unethical. Among those who say North Carolina is on the right track (31% of the voters), 52 percent feel elected officials are honest.
All age groups agree that the average elected official is unethical and dishonest with those over 66 being the least likely to call them dishonest at 46% and those 41-55 being the most likely to call them honest at 39%.
“There is no good news in this poll for elected officials in North Carolina. As more indictments are handed down and the inevitable trials that follow make headlines, these negative numbers, and the cynicism towards elected officials it represents, will only grow worse,” added De Luca.
The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more polling information on Civitas polling see www.nccivitas.org/media/poll-results/.
Full text of question:
Do you think the average elected official in North Carolina is ethical and honest or tends to be unethical and dishonest?
Ethical and Honest – 34%
Unethical and Dishonest – 50%
Not Sure – 16%
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.