Political notebook: Poll says North Carolinians cautious about reopening state economy

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 4, 2020

A Meredith College Poll released last week and conducted in late April showed the majority of North Carolina residents were in support of Gov. Roy Cooper’s extension of the stay-at-home order that ends this week.

The poll was conducted April 27-28 through an online survey of 604 registered North Carolina voters. The Meredith poll’s margin of error was 4%.

About 76% of respondents were in support of the extension — 88% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans and 73% of independents. The majority of respondents —78% — supported Cooper’s decision to close North Carolina public schools until May 15 and 72% said they did not think schools should reopen after that date.

Cooper announced April 24 all schools would remain closed until the end of the school year. Of those with school age children, almost twice as many — 24% compared to 13% — would not send their children back to reopened schools.

The poll determined respondents are cautious about resuming common activities. Only 28% say they would go to a dine-in restaurant if the executive order were rescinded today. Likewise, only 9.1% would go to a bar, 14.2% would exercise at a gym, 11.9% take their children to a park and 16.9% would go to a movie theater. Respondents said even more popular activities, such as getting a haircut, 34.6%, or going to the beach, 34.6%, are too risky at this point.

“Despite the claims of groups like ReOpenNC and President Trump about reopening the economy and getting back to normal, most North Carolinians are paying attention to public health professionals and seeing the impact of coronavirus firsthand,” said David McLennan, director of The Meredith Poll. “As such, they are very cautious  about resuming pre-COVID-19 activities.”

Meanwhile, Most North Carolinians support voting by mail (63%) but have reservations, with 52% trusting the integrity of the current voting system.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and varied responses to it, Cooper has seen a surge in his approval ratings, while President Trump’s approval ratings have fallen. Cooper’s current approval level is 63.3%, while President Trump’s approval stands at 41.2%.

Based on the Meredith Poll results, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Trump 47.4% to 40.4% in the state. Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham leads incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis 43.5% to 34.3%. Cooper leads Republican challenger, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, by a healthy margin — 52% to 32.1%.

According to a WRAL-TV poll conducted April 23-26, Biden led with 50%, compared to Trump’s 45%. Their poll contacted 604 registered voters in North Carolina.

Hudson announces new guidelines for Congressional Art Competition

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, announced Thursday new guidelines for the annual Congressional Art Competition due to COVID-19.

All artwork for this year’s competition will need to be submitted virtually by teachers and school personnel, not students themselves. The new deadline to submit artwork is May 28.

“I look forward to hosting the Congressional Art Competition each year to highlight the talent of high school students throughout our district,” Hudson said. “While this year is different, I am proud to still allow our students to participate and look forward to this year’s competition.” 

Artwork must be no larger than 26 inches by 26 inches by 4 inches deep when framed. Submissions and a student release form should be sent to tanner.hood@mail.house.gov.

Artwork can include paintings, drawings, collages, prints, mixed media, computer generated art and photography.

Submissions will be judged by an independent committee and winners will be announced on June 4. 

For more information on guidelines and forms, visit hudson.house.gov/art-competition or by calling Hudson’s Concord District Office at 704-786-1612.

Tillis, Burr, other senators call for disaster loan improvements

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, and Richard Burr, Republicans, sent a letter Wednesday to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Jovita Carranza urging her to make several improvements to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The 29 senators requested the administrator expedite $10,000 advances to be received within three days, remove the per-employee cap on advance grants and restore the maximum loan amount to $2 million.

“We understand the administration has had to make difficult decisions to extend limited resources in the EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program accounts,” the senators wrote. “However, instituting a per-employee cap on EIDL advance grants and reducing the maximum loan amount from $2 million to $15,000 has left many business owners without sufficient support. We have each heard from frustrated constituents unable to keep their businesses open or employees on payroll while waiting on cash advances under the EIDL program.”

The senators stated they are having to make difficult decisions about the viability of their businesses, and most can’t wait two to three weeks for assistance.

Carranza tweeted Wednesday “To further ensure #PaycheckProtectionProgram loans are limited to eligible borrowers, @SBAgov has decided, in consultation with @USTreasury, that it will review all loans in excess of $2 million, in addition to other loans as appropriate.”

She also tweeted regulatory guidance implementing this procedure would be forthcoming.

In the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program funding from April 27 to May 1, the SBA approved more than 56,000 loans and $4.2 billion for North Carolinians.