HPU Poll: Gas Prices Are Affecting North Carolina Households A Lot

North Carolinians say inflation is the most important issue in the state right now.

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HIGH POINT, N.C., April 12, 2022 – In a new High Point University Poll, more than half (57%) of North Carolinians said that higher gas prices have affected their household a lot. Less than one-third (31%) said a little bit, and 9% said not at all 

North Carolinians were also asked to think about the prices they are currently paying for products compared to last year. Many people said that prices are much higher for gas for their cars (79%), meat (61%) and natural gas (50%). Less than half of the poll respondents said that they are paying a much higher price for fruits and vegetables (43%), milk (39%), eggs (38%), electronics (37%), bread (36%), clothing (34%), water (30%) and toys (26%).

Poll respondents were also asked about President Biden’s recent announcement that the U.S. will stop importing Russian natural gas and oil. A majority (51%) of North Carolinians said that if gas prices rise because of this policy, it is worth the cost. Less than one-third (30%) said that it is not worth the cost to take this action.

“We asked North Carolinians how the increase in gas prices are affecting their household, and a majority told us it has affected them a lot,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “However when it comes to natural gas, these same North Carolinians said that if gas prices rise because the U.S. stops imports from Russia, a majority told us that it is worth the rising costs.”

The poll also asked respondents to indicate who or what is to blame for current levels of inflation. They were split between placing a lot of the blame on President Biden (45%) and on Russia (44%). About one-third of North Carolinians felt that a lot of the blame should be on the COVID-19 pandemic  (38%) and China (31%). Even fewer said that a lot of the blame should be on Republicans in Congress (24%), the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. (23%) or U.S. consumers themselves (17%).

The poll also asked North Carolinians to rate the importance of a series of issues for the state right now. More than two-thirds of the respondents said inflation (70%), education (69%), jobs (69%) and health care (67%) were very important issues in North Carolina today. Majorities said that crime (64%), corruption (60%), taxes (57%), voting fraud (53%) and COVID-19 (51%) were very important issues in North Carolina. Less than half said that race relations (49%), infrastructure (49%), voting suppression (47%), climate change (43%) and public transportation (39%) were very important issues in North Carolina.

“Inflation has become a top concern among citizens because of what has been happening in the economy,” said Dr. Jerry Fox, interim chair for the Department of Economics. “Annual inflation in the U.S. climbed dramatically from 2.7 percent to 8.6 percent over the past year from March 2021 to March 2022. Interestingly, over the same time period, U.S. unemployment declined from 6.0 percent to 3.6 percent. Prices have shot up while joblessness has fallen.”

NC residents – Prices Currently Paying (March 2022)

Thinking about the prices you are currently paying for products on this list compared to last year, would you say prices are much higher, somewhat higher, about the same as last year, somewhat lower, or much lower in price? (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

 

Much higher price

Somewhat higher price

About the same

Somewhat lower

Much lower

Unsure or don’t buy

Gas for your car

79

10

4

2

1

5

Meat

61

25

7

2

1

4

Natural Gas

50

19

7

2

1

22

Fruits and Vegetables

43

37

12

2

1

5

Milk

39

35

16

2

1

7

Eggs

38

36

17

2

1

6

Electronics

37

30

17

2

1

13

Bread

36

36

20

2

1

6

Clothing

34

35

20

2

1

8

Water

30

27

29

3

1

10

Toys

26

25

16

3

*

30

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 18 – Mar. 31, 2022, n = 889 and credibility interval is +/- 3.5%)

NC residents – Gas Prices (March 2022)

How much would you say higher gas prices have affected your household?

A lot – 57%

A little bit – 31%

Not at all – 9%

Unsure – 3%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 18 – Mar. 31, 2022, n = 889 and credibility interval is +/- 3.5%)

NC residents – Importing Russian Gas (March 2022)

President Biden recently announced that the U.S. will stop importing Russian natural gas and oil. If gas prices rise because of this policy, it is worth the cost or not worth the cost to take this action?

Worth the cost – 51%

Not worth the cost – 30%

Unsure – 19%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 18 – Mar. 31, 2022, n = 889 and credibility interval is +/- 3.5%)

NC residents – Deserves Blame for Inflation (March 2022)

Please indicate whether you think each of these people or things deserves a lot, some, not much, or no blame for current levels of inflation. (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER) 

 

A lot

Some

Not much

None at all

Unsure

President Biden

45

22

14

9

10

Russia

44

28

10

8

10

The COVID-19 pandemic

38

34

11

8

9

China

31

33

16

7

14

Republicans in Congress

24

30

19

14

13

The Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S.

23

32

20

6

19

U.S. consumers

17

32

22

17

12

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 18 – Mar. 31, 2022, n = 889 and credibility interval is +/- 3.5%)

NC residents – Most Important Issues in NC (March 2022)

How do you think each of these issues is in North Carolina today? Would you say very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important? (PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

 

Very important

Somewhat important

Not very important

Not at all important

Unsure

Inflation

70

20

2

2

6

Education

69

21

4

2

5

Jobs

69

20

5

3

4

Health care

67

22

6

1

4

Crime

64

26

4

2

5

Corruption

60

25

7

2

6

Taxes

57

29

7

2

5

Voting fraud

53

22

12

7

6

COVID-19

51

27

10

8

5

Race relations

49

27

12

6

6

Infrastructure

49

32

7

3

10

Voting suppression

47

23

11

9

10

Climate change

43

29

14

10

5

Public transportation

39

35

15

5

7

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Mar. 18 – Mar. 31, 2022, n = 889 and credibility interval is +/- 3.5%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 18 through March 31, 2022, and an online survey was fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 889 adults interviewed online (803 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (86 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI, to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using the SRC’s Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.3 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.12 (based on the weighting).The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. The final stage of weighting ensures proper weighting of the online and live interviews. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. See more information here.

You can follow the HPU Poll Twitter here.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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