Poll: North Carolinians support tax cuts, high court term limits, voter ID

North Carolinians across party lines support several amendments to the state’s charter that could end up on the ballot in November, including proposals to limit Supreme Court justices to two terms on the bench and requiring photo identification to vote, according to a new poll. 

Commissioned by the conservative Carolina Partnership for Reform (CPR), the poll from conservative polling firm Meeting Street Insights shows voters in North Carolina would likely support five potential constitutional amendments should they be given a choice. Republicans hold a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature, which means they can put constitutional questions on the ballot without Democratic support or fear of a veto from Gov. Roy Cooper

The survey polled 500 voters from April 25-28 and has a margin of error of 4.3%, according to CPR. 

Respondents overwhelmingly supported — by a 51 point margin — a potential amendment to reduce the maximum state income tax rate in North Carolina from 7% to 4%. Of those surveyed, 71% were in favor of the proposal with just 20% opposed. 

Eighty percent of Republicans polled favored the amendment, as did 74% of unaffiliated respondents and 59% of Democrats. 

“Were this amendment to advance to the ballot, a sustained opposition campaign may dampen that margin a bit,” CPR said. “But a similar campaign against the 2018 tax cap amendment didn’t come close to defeating it.”

That amendment, which lowered the maximum allowable income tax rate from 10% to 7%, passed with 57% of the vote.

A proposal already winding its way through the legislative process to allow only U.S. citizens to vote in North Carolina elections was favored by 68% of respondents to the poll, with 27% opposing such a measure. More than 80% of Republicans favored the potential ballot question, as did 70% of unaffiliated respondents and 54% of Democrats. 

“Critics have billed this as a non-issue — a familiar tactic by politicians under fire from their left flank to dodge substantive discussion of popular policy proposals,” CPR said. “With immigration at the forefront of voters’ minds, and with some major cities looking to allow non-citizens to vote, it’s understandable that elected officials — driven by voter sentiment — may wish to advance this amendment.”

It is already illegal for a non-U.S. citizens to vote in North Carolina. As currently written, the state constitution allows “every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, 18 years of age, and possessing the qualifications set … to vote at any election by the people of the State.”

Opponents of the measure consider adding it to the ballot unnecessary political theater and an attempt to rally conservative voters to the polls. 

Requiring voters to produce photo identification before voting was also a popular proposal, with 70% of respondents in favor and 29% opposed. CPR did not provide a breakdown of responses for that question. 

By an 11 point margin, respondents also favored repealing a literacy test requirement to vote that was nullified by the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 but nonetheless remains in the North Carolina Constitution. While a significant number of respondents said they “don’t know” whether they would support repealing the literacy test, 50% favored striking it down while 39% did not, CPR said.

Broadly seen as a racist stain that has not faded from the Jim Crow south, the literacy test required everyone registering to vote “be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language.”

Most popular among the amendments offered up in the poll – favored by a 51-point margin – was limiting state Supreme Court justices to two 12-year terms. Justices currently are elected to 8-year stints on the bench but are not term limited. 

Of those polled, 73% were in favor of the amendment while 18% were opposed. 

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