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North Carolinians split on Electoral College

But over half oppose the Popular Vote Interstate Compact
March 27, 2019


RALEIGH, NC – The latest statewide Civitas Poll found that 43 percent of likely voters would like to retain the Electoral College for electing president, whereas 47 percent prefer to move to a popular vote.

As the 2020 elections near, much attention has been given to the role of the Electoral College. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic hopeful, recently called for its abolition during a CNN Town Hall. Doing so would require a repeal of the 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Two-thirds of the states would need to support the repeal for ratification.

Nationally, the Electoral College has grown in support over recent decades, particularly when compared to the significant public opposition to it after the controversial 2000 election of George W. Bush that led to numerous recounts across the state of Florida. In 2000, nationwide support for the Electoral College was at 35 percent. Following the 2016 election it rose to 47 percent.

Likely voters were also asked what they thought about legislation like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (SB 104):

29% favor
55% oppose
15% unsure/refused

“It’s clear that there is a widespread misunderstanding of what the Electoral College system is,” said Civitas President Donald Bryson. “The disconnect between a plurality of voters wanting a popularly elected president, but a majority of those same voters opposing implementing a national popular vote indicates that they changed their opinion with some explanation.”

The Civitas Poll also asked respondents about their approval of President Donald Trump and Gov. Roy Cooper:

47% approve
49% disapprove
4% unsure/refused

58% approve
29% disapprove
12% unsure/refused

Favorability of a number of elected officials were also asked (Attorney General Josh Stein, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and Treasurer Dale Folwell were also included):

Sen. Thom Tillis:
26% favorable
33% unfavorable

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest: 
32% favorable
  9% unfavorable

Bryson continued,”Since our November poll, Lt. Gov. Forest has seen some change in his favorability, with an 11-point uptick. Forest is solidly favorable and shows no signs of cemented negative definition. However, most voters have not formed an opinion of him, so there is room for growth.”

Lastly, likely voters were asked if they supported amending the state constitution to change the definition of eminent domain from the taking of private property for “public use and benefit” to the more restrictive language of “public use”:

51% favor amending the constitution
31% oppose amending the constitution
17% unsure or refused

To view complete poll results, including responses to abortion-related questions, click here.

For cross tabs click here.

The sample size for the survey is 500 likely voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is +/-4.38%. Responses were gathered via landline and mobile telephone interviews conducted by live callers at a professional call center. The survey was conducted March 14 – 17, 2019 by Harper Polling. The total percentages of responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization that fights to remove barriers to freedom so that all North Carolinians can enjoy a better life. 


For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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