Raleigh, N.C. – Voter support for privatizing North Carolina’s embattled government-run Alcoholic Beverage Control system of stores is gaining support, but lacks backing from a majority of voters according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute.
According to the live caller poll of 600 likely voters, when asked if they agreed with those who say the system should be privatized because it would raise money for the state and get the state out of the liquor business, 47 percent said they did. However, 37 percent of voters said they agreed with others who say that privatizing the system will lead to increased availability and consumption of liquor which is a detriment to society. The remaining 16 percent of voters said they were unsure.
“When you give voters the main arguments for and against privatizing the ABC system, more voters choose privatization,” said Civitas Institute President Francis De Luca. “However, it is still not a majority of voters, indicating the public needs more information and any major change will require leadership from the Governor.”
An indication of North Carolina’s deep religious roots and concern about the spread of alcohol usage is apparent in the groups of voters who oppose privatization. Fifty percent of African-American voters and 49 percent of voters who consider themselves to be part of the “religious right” oppose privatization.
“Voter opinion on privatizing the ABC system is one of the few issues that transcends political parties and is more about religion and a person’s ideology than party affiliation,” added De Luca. “These voters that are opposed are seen as powerful interest groups within the General Assembly, making any attempt to overhaul the ABC system a very tough sell.”
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 questions:
North Carolina is considering privatizing its state-run ABC system of selling liquor. Some say the system should be privatized because it would raise money for the state and get government out of the liquor business. Others say that by privatizing the system it will lead to increased availability and consumption of liquor which is a detriment to society. Which opinion do you share?
Support privatizing – 47%
Oppose privatizing – 37%
Not Sure – 16%
This poll of 600 likely general election voters in North Carolina was conducted Feb. 15-18 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, 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.