North Carolinians are suffering financially, pessimistic about economic future, WRAL News poll finds

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RALEIGH, North Carolina – A plurality of North Carolina families are in worse financial shape than a year ago and optimistic about the economic outlook for the year ahead, according to a WRAL news poll released Thursday. Meanwhile, most residents of the state are cutting back on spending to offset the high prices.

The survey of 1,100 adults in the state, conducted in partnership with SurveyUSA from Sept. 28 through Sunday, found that 42% of residents were pessimistic about their families’ economic prospects over the next 12 months and 37% were optimists. Twenty-one percent of respondents were unsure.

Forty-three percent of those polled said their families were worse off financially than a year ago, while just 15% said they were better off. Thirty-eight per cent considered their family finances to be about the same as a year ago.

To cope with rising prices, the vast majority of North Carolina residents – 92% – are adjusting their spending habits.

The poll reported a credibility interval of 3.5 percentage points. A credibility interval is similar to a margin of error but takes into account more factors and is considered by some pollsters to be a more accurate measure of statistical certainty.

Which side will benefit politically?

Factors such as rising borrowing costs, a stock market that has plunged around 22% this year and, most notably, soaring consumer costs – including rising gasoline prices, food and housing – have caused many North Carolina residents to tighten spending. Many look to politicians for answers.

North Carolina voters see the economy as the top issue on their minds ahead of the Nov. 8 election, separate WRAL News poll showed. Political onlookers and groups working to elect Democrats and Republicans see the need for both parties to speak out about voters’ economic frustrations.

Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University, sees voters’ economic concerns as a boon for Republicans in a competitive election year in a state with many undecided voters who could be frustrated with the administration of the economy by President Joe Biden. That could translate to votes for Republicans at the state level.

“The economy is one area where Republicans are going to benefit over Democrats,” Cooper said. “Bad news for the economy is good news for Republicans.

Thursday’s WRAL News poll shows the economy is a bigger priority for Republicans than for Democrats. Republicans were almost twice as likely as Democrats to have a pessimistic view of their family’s economic prospects and to report having been worse off financially over the past year.

The economy has become a major issue in some of the closest races in the state, including a Triangle-area congressional contest in the newly drawn 13th District and an America-wide U.S. Senate race. State.

Republicans argued they were better equipped to fight inflation, while Democrats cited the new Inflation Reduction Act as a solution to put the nation’s finances in order.

Despite economic hardship, three public opinion polls showed North Carolina’s US Senate race between Republican US Representative Ted Budd and Cheri Beasley, a Democrat and former chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, unless by one percentage point. Polls also reported that more than 10% of likely voters were undecided, a high number this close to the election.

The competitive race between Budd and Beasley indicates that a multitude of factors are weighing on voters. When asked about the top issue on their minds, the issue of abortion came in far behind for voters in North Carolina.

“It’s very difficult to make firm predictions, but it’s clear that this race in North Carolina is going to be on the wire,” said Heye, a Republican strategist and former communications director for the Republican National Committee who worked on three successes in North Carolina. US Senate Campaigns.

Changing behaviors in the face of higher costs

Nearly three in four respondents said they believed the United States was currently in a recession.

This year, the United States recorded its highest levels of inflation in four decades, with year-over-year costs of goods increasing by more than 8%. The effects were felt at the gas pump, at the grocery store and in real estate.

Over the past week, the average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in North Carolina rose 2.2% to $3.39, according to the American Automobile Association. Although prices have fallen from their June highs of $4.67, they remain above the $3.04 customers paid a year ago.

The Federal Reserve reacted by raising interest rates in an effort to calm inflation. Higher borrowing costs reduce demand for goods, which eventually lowers the prices of things like houses and cars.

Freddie Mac Data Thursday, meanwhile, showed that the average for 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages in the United States was 6.66% and 5.9%, respectively. The 30-year and 15-year rates more than doubled from a year ago when they stood at 2.99% and 2.23%.
Thursday's WRAL poll showed 92% of North Carolina residents are adjusting their lives to meet rising costs by postponing major purchases, reducing driving and travel, spending less on events and activities, reducing food purchases or a combination of these.

Thursday’s WRAL poll showed 92% of North Carolina residents are adjusting their lives to meet rising costs by postponing major purchases, reducing driving and travel, spending less on events and activities, reducing food purchases or a combination of these.

Thirty-six percent of respondents reported at least two of these changes in their drinking behavior. North Carolina residents who mentioned a change in behavior overwhelmingly cited the postponement of major purchases.

Responses to changes in spending habits were similar for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

“When it comes to the economy, it seemed like in general Republicans were more concerned than Democrats,” Cooper said. “But when it comes to how your attitudes and behaviors are changing and how the price hike is impacting your household, a lot of that gap is narrowing.”

WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie contributed to this article.

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