The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed likely voters in North Carolina on key issues in the state, such as welfare integrity, Medicaid expansion, and health care.
Survey results indicate likely voters support reforms to protect welfare resources for vulnerable North Carolinians while moving individuals from welfare to work. They are opposed Medicaid expansion and more broadly support reforms that will provide more health insurance options to consumers.
North Carolina voters support welfare program integrity
Voters, especially Independents, want to ensure individuals receiving welfare benefits are truly eligible for them.
- A majority of likely voters want welfare applicants’ expensive assets like real estate, recreational vehicles, and boats to be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for benefits (58%). These asset tests receive the greatest support from Independents (67%).
- There is even greater support for requiring the state to cross-check food stamp applications against large lottery winner records when determining eligibility for the program (70%). This overall support includes a majority of Democrats (60%) and Independents (69%).
- More than two-thirds, including 71 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats, and 68 percent of Independents, support verifying Medicaid eligibility prior to approving applications for benefits.
North Carolina voters are clearly committed to and concerned with protecting resources for the truly needy across welfare programs in the state. There is significant bipartisan support for reforms that would protect welfare program integrity through eligibility verification and asset tests.
Medicaid expansion is opposed by North Carolina voters
Concern for preserving resources for the truly needy carries over to voters’ opinions about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.
Half of likely voters oppose expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion has already been tabled by North Carolina’s legislature, and public opinion polling continues to show substantial opposition to expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults.
Voters want welfare recipients to experience the dignity of work
With roughly 400,000 jobs open in the state, North Carolina voters are clearly interested in getting people back into the workforce. Survey results indicate that likely voters want those who are able-bodied and receiving welfare benefits to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time as a condition of eligibility:
…support requiring able-bodied adults to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time to be eligible for public housing, including nearly three-quarters of Independents (74%) and nearly two-thirds of Democrats (58%).
…want a work requirement for able-bodied adults receiving food stamp benefits, again with majority bipartisan support.
…say a work requirement should be implemented for able-bodied adults on Medicaid.
Work requirements in welfare for the able-bodied is certainly not an issue divided by party lines in North Carolina. This gives legislators the opportunity to advance these policies with the support of public opinion.
Strong bipartisan support for options and flexibility in health care coverage
North Carolina voters of all political persuasions are also of a similar mind when it comes to health care coverage. There is broad support for innovative reforms that will provide consumers and patients with more options and flexibility to access high-quality, affordable coverage.
A majority of voters—including more Democrats (60%) than Republicans (48%) and Independents (58%)—support requiring health insurance companies to offer in-network coverage for patients who have been referred to an out-of-network provider. Further, an even larger majority of likely voters (71%) support allowing out-of-state health insurers to offer their plans in North Carolina. This includes majorities of Republicans (73%), Democrats (64%), and Independents (78%).
The overwhelming cross-party support for these measures indicates that broadening options for health insurance should be top priority for lawmakers.
The bottom line
Key issues have broad support among likely voters across the political spectrum in the Tarheel State. Voters are deeply supportive of reforms that preserve welfare resources for the truly needy and require able-bodied welfare recipients to work as a condition of eligibility. Medicaid expansion is still highly unfavorable across the state as voters favor reforms that will provide patients with more options when it comes to private health insurance. For the coming session, lawmakers have the opportunity to work on reforms that hold an impressive degree of support among all voters from Asheville to the Outer Banks, and everywhere in between.