N.C. voters support redistricting reform

Apr 29, 2013

 

RALEIGH - A strong majority of North Carolina voters support reforming the

state's redistricting process, according to a new poll commissioned by the

nonpartisan N.C. Center for Voter Education.

 

The survey finds 69 percent of voters concerned about the influence of

partisan politics in creating legislative and congressional voting maps.

Seventy-seven percent of voters believe there is a conflict of interest when

legislators draw their own districts, including 73 percent of Republicans,

76 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of unaffiliated voters.

 

A solid majority -- 70 percent -- favor giving redistricting authority to

nonpartisan legislative staff. The trend holds across party lines, with 73

percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of

unaffiliated voters favoring that change.

 

Recently a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, led by Republican Reps. Paul

Stam (Wake) and Chuck McGrady (Henderson) and Democratic Reps. Rick Glazier

(Cumberland) and Deborah Ross (Wake), introduced House Bill 606. The measure

would take redistricting power away from legislators and give it to

nonpartisan legislative staff for the next round of redistricting in 2021.

 

The bill has 61 sponsors, constituting a majority in the N.C. House, and

would bar map-drawers from considering such data as the party affiliation of

voters, past election results and the addresses of incumbents when creating

legislative and congressional districts.

 

"Voters across the political spectrum want to entrust redistricting

authority with a nonpartisan body," said Brent Laurenz, executive director

of the N.C. Center for Voter Education. "Such a reform could go a long way

toward removing politics from the redistricting process and building

confidence in our elections."

 

The statewide poll of 610 North Carolina voters was conducted Apr. 24-28 by

SurveyUSA and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

 

Founded in 1999, the Raleigh-based N.C. Center for Voter Education is a

nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping citizens fully

participate in democracy.

 

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Poll results, including crosstabs, are available online:

http://ncvotered.com/downloads/polling/2013/SurveyUSA_redistricting.pdf

 

Q1. North Carolina just went through the redistricting process, creating new

district lines and changing the makeup of congressional and state

legislative districts. How concerned are you, if at all, about the effects

of partisan politics on the creation of legislative and congressional

district maps in North Carolina? Are you ... Very concerned? Somewhat

concerned? Not very concerned? Or not at all concerned?

 

very: 38 percent

somewhat: 31 percent

not very: 18 percent

not at all: 8 percent

not sure: 4 percent

 

Q2. Currently, legislators in the General Assembly are responsible for

redistricting and can use political data such as past election results and

political party registration statistics when drawing new districts. Would

you support or oppose a plan to remove politics from the process and give

control of redistricting to a nonpartisan, independent body?

 

support: 61 percent

oppose: 19 percent

not sure: 21 percent

 

Q3. Do you think there is or is not a conflict of interest when legislators

are allowed to decide where their own district lines are drawn and which

voters will live in their district?

 

is a conflict of interest: 77 percent

is not: 11 percent

not sure: 12 percent

 

Q4. Would you prefer that nonpartisan staff at the General Assembly draw

legislative district maps? Or that redistricting continues to use the

current system, where legislators draw their own districts?

 

nonpartisan staff: 70 percent

legislators: 17 percent

not sure: 13 percent

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