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High Point University Poll Asks About Taxes, Same-Sex Marriages
Written by Michael Papich   
Friday, 06 March 2015 17:15

HIGH POINT-The state's General Assembly is considering whether a public official can choose not to marry same-sex couples based on religious objections. The High Point University Poll asked North Carolinians their views on this issue, and more, and poll director Martin Kifer says the state is closely divided.

"Forty-three percent said 'Yes, you should allow these kinds of exemptions,' and 48 percent said 'No,'" Kifer says.

When parsing the poll's specifics, Kifer says it becomes even tighter.

"When we went and did a screen for registered voters, that was divided exactly in half," Kifer says. "46-46, with 8 percent saying they didn't know or refused to answer. So people, we find, are pretty divided on this particular issue."

Several magistrates and registers of deeds across the state have already resigned rather than perform same-sex marriages. John W. Smith, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, said magistrates cannot deny same-sex couples back in November.

Kifer says this split over whether magistrates should have this exemption is indicative of North Carolina's lack of comfort with same-sex marriage, which has grown since polling during the 2014 election.

"We did find that, overall, there was probably a small advance for people who felt that they weren't supportive of same-sex marriage here in North Carolina," he says. "And that was among our likely voter sample."

Kifer also says the way same-sex marriage came to North Carolina may have opened up some rifts.

"After the court decisions had been handed down, about 60 percent of people disapproved of the issue being settled that way," he said. "It's not necessarily to say what they thought about same-sex marriages in general but they did not like the court intervention."

The HPU Poll didn't only ask about same-sex marriage, with the tax proposals floating around the state in the survey to North Carolinians. And with gasoline prices at the lowest price in years the poll asked whether residents would support raising the gas tax to pay for road repairs.

"We actually found that about two-thirds of people - 67 percent to 31 percent - didn't support that particular proposal," Kifer says.

The state House and Senate are currently working on bills that would cut the gasoline tax while also possibly cutting jobs at the Department of Transportation.

In another question, Kifer says when it comes to diverting sales tax revenue from wealthier counties to poor counties, 64 percent of respondents said they would support it.

"People were not for a new tax, but they were for distributing the revenue that was already coming in in different ways," he says.

Between these two results, Kifer says this shows people think about taxes in nuanced ways.

"It is just to say that it makes sense to look deeper at what people think in terms of fairness and what they think is the right way to go in tax policy," he says.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2015 17:19


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