Durham County

Elon polls shows divide on Trump, Cooper, nuclear war

Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with a North Carolina flag over his shoulder.
Gov. Roy Cooper speaks with a North Carolina flag over his shoulder.

North Carolina’s citizenry are sharply divided in a new political poll.

About half approve of the job Gov. Roy Cooper is doing. About half don’t.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 771 registered voters in North Carolina on Nov. 6-9 about state, national and international matters. The results have a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Trump and Russia

Just 37 percent of voters approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing, but that’s 3 percentage points better than a similar Oct. 3 Elon survey.

Forty percent dismiss the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as “just politics,” while slightly over 50 percent view it as a “serious matter.”

“Though President Trump remains underwater in approval and low by any historical standard, we measured a slight increase in approval among North Carolina voters,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon University Poll and assistant professor of political science. “This increase over the last month is largely due to a small group of Republicans who previously disapproved or were unsure.”

Opinions about the investigation by former FBI chief Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the election, too, are split.

“North Carolina voters live in almost different worlds when it comes to perceptions of the Russia investigation,” Husser said. “Democrats overwhelmingly say it is a serious matter, while Republicans consistently think it is just politics.”

Among voters who approve of Trump’s performance as president, 85 percent think Mueller’s investigation won’t uncover any crimes.

Of voters who disapprove of Trump, 78 percent think the investigation will find crimes were committed.

Among independents 51 percent said the investigation is a “serious matter,” and 38 percent of independents, “just politics.”

North Carolina’s senators

▪ Less than one-third of voters approve of the jobs U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis are doing.

▪ Forty-six percent said Burr and Tillis should support Trump less.

▪ Twenty-eight percent approve of how Tillis is doing his job, 41 percent said they don’t approve and 30 percent said they “don’t know.”

▪ Thirty-one percent approve of how Burr is doing his job, 40.5 percent don’t approve and 27 percent “don’t know.”

▪ Older, white men support the Republican U.S. senators the most.

Perceived media bias

▪ Among those that disapprove of Trump, 22 percent said the media is biased against him.

▪ Among those who approve of Trump, 92 percent said they detect “anti-Trump bias” in the media.

▪ Sixty-five percent of men and 40 percent of women say that the media is biased against Trump.

▪ Sixty-two percent of white voters and 23 percent of black voters detect media bias against him.

North Korea and nuclear warfare

On average, close to one in four North Carolina voters think nuclear weapons could possibly be used by either country within the next year.

“Whether one sees that level of worry as high is largely subjective, but we know Democrats are much more likely to be on edge right now about the worst-case scenario with North Korea,” Husser said.

Forty-one percent of Democrats and only 11 percent of Republicans think nuclear weapons could be used in the next 12 months.

Baby Boomers are the most likely to think that nuclear weapons could be used: 27 percent.

Women are more likely than men and blacks are more likely than whites to think the U.S. and North Korea could deploy nuclear weapons against one another.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks