New poll illuminates fears of North Carolinians from shootings to unemployment

By Joe Killian, NC POLICY WATCH

May be Worth your time today: an interesting new poll from Elon University, conducted in partnership with The Raleigh News & Observer and The Durham Herald-Sun.

The poll asked 1,489 North Carolina adults about 37 various risks from climate change and crime to unemployment and drug addiction, gauging how unsafe each made them feel.

Topping the risks that made respondents feel “very unsafe” were shootings in public places. Younger respondents were significantly more likely to feel “very unsafe” when asked about shootings in public places, reflecting concern over mass shootings at schools and a generational gap in preference for stronger gun laws.

Half of respondents under 30 said they feel “very unsafe” when it comes to public shootings. That’s 13 percentage points higher than the average and 21 percentage points higher than residents 65 years old or older.

Women and black respondents were also more likely to say public shootings made them feel unsafe when compared to white men.

Forty-five percent of women said public shootings made them feel “very unsafe” compared to 29 percent of men.

Fifty-two percent of black respondents said they feel “very unsafe” compared to 31 percent of white respondents.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, income level was also a major factor in how people responded. Respondents from households making less than $50,000 a year were more likely to feel unsafe than those from households over $50,000.

Among the risks making lower income respondents feel most unsafe: unemployment, drug addiction and contaminated food and water.

Those concerns were significantly less prevalent in higher income households.

Twenty percent of respondents from households making less than $50,000 reported feeling “very unsafe” about unemployment. Only 12 percent of respondents from households making more than $50,000 said it made them feel very unsafe.

A full 41 percent of respondents said they felt either “very unsafe” or “somewhat unsafe” about the cost of living.