New poll shows just how little North Carolinians know about what they’ll be voting on

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If North Carolinians are even aware that they’ll have the chance to vote on changes to the state constitution this November, there’s a good chance they’ll still be confused about what they’re being asked to approve.

A new poll from Elon University asked registered voters around the state about the six proposed constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this year. The result: Most people don’t know much about the amendments, and in some cases people think the amendments would have the opposite effect of what they would really do.

“It seems to me that a lot of voters are going to be making a permanent decision that could impact North Carolina for decades to come, based on pretty limited information,” said Jason Husser, the director of the Elon Poll.

While a small majority of the voters polled did know that there will be constitutional amendments on the ballot this November, almost none claimed to know “a lot” about what the amendments will do if they pass.

Although 89 percent said they plan to vote in November, just 56 percent knew there will be amendments on the ballot — and only 8 percent said they’ve heard a lot about what the amendments would do.

John Dinan, a Wake Forest University political professor who is an expert on state-level constitutional amendments, said the results aren’t surprising.

“It’s normal for there to be a lot of undecided voters, at least at the beginning of the campaign,” he said. “That means there’s also a lot of opportunities to educate voters.”

Voters go to the polls on Nov. 6.

Amendments on the ballot

For those who would like more information, here’s a brief recap of the six amendments:

Voter ID: Create a requirement to show a photo ID to vote. The exact details are a mystery, however, since the General Assembly has not yet written the actual law that would be enacted if this amendment passes. North Carolina’s last attempt to create a voter ID law was ruled unconstitutional in 2016.

Income tax cap: The state’s current income tax rate is 5.499 percent, and that won’t change no matter what happens with this amendment. Instead, the amendment would lower the maximum possible rate that state income taxes could be raised to in the future, from 10 percent to 7 percent.

Changes to elections board: The board has four Democrats, four Republicans and one politically unaffiliated person. This amendment would remove the ninth — and potentially tiebreaking — vote and leave the board equally split with eight members. It would also transfer power to pick board members from the governor to the legislature.

Changes to judicial appointments: When judges die, quit or retire, the governor appoints a new person to take over until the next election. This amendment would take that power away. In some cases it would be up to the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and in other cases the amendment would require the governor to select an appointee from a list provided by the state legislature.

Hunting and fishing: This amendment is broadly worded to re-affirm the rights of people to hunt and fish. It’s not entirely clear if it would make any actual changes to North Carolina law.

Marsy’s Law: This amendment would give additional rights to crime victims and is part of a national push to do so.

All six amendments were written by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, and the North Carolina GOP is asking people to vote in favor of all six. Meanwhile, the N.C. Democratic Party is asking people to vote against all six.

Dinan, however, said it’s possible that in November voters will approve some and deny others. While North Carolina does not have a history of frequently amending its constitution, he said, there are lessons to be learned from other states that do.

“Voters have been known to make distinctions,” he said. “We have states that have six amendments on the ballot on a regular basis, and voters will say ‘Yes’ to these four and ‘No’ to these two.”

For North Carolina Democrats in 2018, some amendments are more controversial than others.

No one challenged the hunting amendment or the victims’ rights amendment in court, and in the General Assembly both passed with support from Democrats as well as Republicans.

On the other hand, the amendments changing the board of elections and judicial appointments amendments drew a lawsuit from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. And the amendments about voter ID and the income tax cap drew a lawsuit from the NAACP and environmental groups. However, both Cooper and the NAACP were handed losses on Tuesday by the N.C. Supreme Court.

By Will Doran/nando
Posted by The NON-Conformist
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GOP ‘Propaganda’ Not Working: Only 13% Believe Tax Plan Will Help Middle Class

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For months Republicans and President Donald Trump have worked to convince Americans that massive tax cuts for the top one percent and the largest corporations would somehow primarily benefit the working class, but a new Washington Post/ABC News poll published Friday finds that the public isn’t buying the GOP’s “propaganda.”

Image: ABC News/Washington Post

As NPR‘s Danielle Kurtzleben noted on Thursday, previous polling leading up to the GOP’s tax bill rollout revealed similar skepticism.

“GOP selling points aren’t sinking in,” Kurtzleben wrote. “One of Republicans’ biggest talking points is that a corporate tax cut will benefit workers (though even right-wing economists have cast doubt on White House estimates on this point). But nearly 60 percent of people believe corporations won’t ‘use that money to create jobs.'”

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Trump Strong in Three Early States as Clinton and Sanders Battle: Poll

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With just four days to go until the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump has pulled ahead of Ted Cruz with a seven-point lead among likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers, while Hillary Clinton remains just three points in front of Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, according to a trio of new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

Image: NBC News

In New Hampshire, where voters will head to the polls on February 9, Sanders has expanded his lead over Clinton from four points in early January to nearly 20 points now. With Republicans, Trump still has a double-digit lead over Cruz, who finished second in the Granite State survey.

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White Rage: Poll Finds that Whites, Republicans Are the Angriest Americans, while Blacks, the Victims of Racism are Least Angry

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White people are angry, and a poll says they are the angriest in America.  It looks as if white America, collectively, is crying white tears.

According to a new NBC News/Survey Monkey/Esquire online poll about outrage in the country, 49 percent of Americans are angry.  But not all anger is equally distributed.  It turns out that 54 percent of whites are angry, followed by Latinos at 43 percent, and African-Americans at 33 percent.  Further, while 73 percent of whites said they get angry at least once a day, 66 percent of Latinos and 56 percent of Blacks responded the same way.

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Poll: Americans Want Sarah Palin to Shut Up the Most

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A poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and Annenberg finally gave a numerical answer to a question we at Mediaite often ask ourselves: Out of all political figures that should pipe down just a bit, which one should do it immediately?

Answer: Sarah Palin. Overwhelmingly Sarah Palin, says America.

52% of surveyed American adults want Sarah Palin to “be quiet,” according to the poll taken between June 30 and July 7 — immediately before she published a Breitbart column demanding Obama be impeached. Notably, four out of every ten Republicans surveyed said that Palin should quiet down. (Two-thirds of Democrats and a “majority” of independents agreed with that sentiment.)

45% of respondents added that they wanted Jesse Jackson to be quiet, too; followed by Dick Cheney (42%), Newt Gingrich (39%), Al Gore (37%), and Bill Clinton (31%).

Only 12% surveyed said that the politicians should keep talking.

Numbers don’t lie, people.

From Mediate via Wall Street Journal

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America’s New Drug Policy Landscape

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Image: Pew Research Center

The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs. A national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs.

Support for a treatment-based approach to illegal drug use spans nearly all demographic groups. And while Republicans are less supportive of the treatment option than are Democrats or independents, about half of Republicans (51%) say the government should focus more on treatment than prosecution in dealing with illegal drug users.

As a growing number of states ease penalties for drug possession, the public expresses increasingly positive views of the move away from mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crimes. By nearly two-to-one (63% to 32%), more say it is a good thing than a bad thing that some states have moved away from mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders. In 2001, Americans were evenly divided over the move by some states to abandon mandatory drug terms.

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Poll: Democrats ‘lesser of two evils’ in battle for Congress

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