Spring 2012 Articles

Students Pessimistic About Direction of the Country

While students hold generally positive views about the direction of N.C. State, they report a more negative view about the direction of the county. Less than a quarter (23%) of students feel that the country is “generally headed in the right direction,” while nearly half (48%) of students think that the country is on the wrong track.

This is bad news for Obama, as the election draws nearer.  Just 18% of students who think that things in our country are generally headed in the wrong direction approve of the way President Obama is doing his job.  Among the minority of students who say things are headed in the right direction, nearly two-thirds (63%) also approve of the way President Obama is doing his job.

Overall, just one-third (33%) of N.C. State students approve of the way that President Obama is doing his job, and 40% disapprove.  Many (27%) were undecided.

Perhaps the good news for Obama’s reelection chances, students’ evaluations of Obama’s job performance are slightly more positive than those expressed in the Fall 2012 Pack Poll, when just 30% them expressed approval (43% expressed disapproval).  However, despite the perception that Obama does well with young voters, State students’ approval ratings of Obama’s job performance are lower than the national average of 50% approval reported by the PEW Research center on March 15, 2012.

To be expected, students who call themselves Democrats are significantly more likely to approve of the way that Obama is doing his job than students who classify themselves as Republicans. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Democrats express approval of President Obama’s job performance. A comparable number of Republicans disapprove of the way President Obama is doing his job. Also expectedly, a substantial majority of students who approve of Obama’s job performance say that they would vote for him in the general election if either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum becomes the Republican nominee.  The surprising finding is that Obama best both of the most likely Republican opponents, despite his low job performance.

Gas Prices

A large majority (72%) of N.C. State students feel that gas prices are becoming a burden for them, while just 6% of students disagree. The proportion of N.C. State students who consider gas prices to be a burden is consistent with national average of 63% of Americans consider gas prices to be a financial hardship according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll conducted last month.

Nearly four-in-ten (38%) students strongly agree with the statement “Gas prices are becoming a burden for me.” Students who consider gas prices to be a burden tend to hold more negative views about the direction of the country. More than half (52%) of students who feel burdened by gas prices think that the country is generally headed in the wrong direction. An even greater majority (58%) of students who feel strongly that gas prices are becoming a burden say that the country is generally on the wrong track, while substantially less students (20%) who feel burdened by gas prices feel that the country is headed in the right direction. More than three-in-ten (31%) students who say that they do not feel burdened by gas prices still feel that the country is on the wrong track, while slightly more (39%) feel that the country is headed in the right direction.

Students who feel burdened by gas prices are also less likely to approve of the way that President Obama is doing his job. A sizeable plurality (43%) of students who agree that gas prices are a burden disapprove of Obama’s job performance.  Conversely, students who do not feel burdened by gas prices are more likely to approve of Obama’s job performance (43% approving, just 26% disapprove). Although President Obama has very little influence over gas prices, a recent national poll found, a recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll found that 50% of national poll respondents think that gas prices are reasonably within the Obama administration’s control, while just 45% think that gas prices have risen because of factors beyond the administration’s control.

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