May 12, 2023 7:00am

Most Triangle Power Pollers have zero confidence in the NCGA now that it is a Republican supermajority

Abortion rights and extreme partisan gerrymandering could be affected most by the new power dynamic. 

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Research Triangle Correspondent

Thanks to Mecklenburg Rep. Tricia Cotham’s party switch, the North Carolina legislature has a veto-proof GOP supermajority for the first time since 2018. This clears the way for the Republican leaders to push through major changes which could affect women’s healthcare, voting rights and gun laws. And without a veto, there’s little the state’s Democratic governor can do to stand in their way.

For our Power Poll Triangle respondents, this is anything but a good thing. Most of the folks who responded to this month’s poll say the new power dynamic leaves them with no confidence in the North Carolina General Assembly and believe Cotham cheated Democrat voters with her party swap to Republican. But their biggest concern is the effect an untethered Republican agenda could have on women’s access to abortion and reproductive rights.

Triangle voters didn’t elect Cotham, but a majority of you feel that her party swap was deeply unfair to voters. Sixty percent said they “strongly disagreed” the move was fair play, while another 11 percent found the swap “somewhat” unfair.

Only 13 percent “strongly agree” that Cotham’s move was fair to the Democrats who voted her into office, with another 5 percent calling it “somewhat” fair.

This isn’t that surprising, given the Triangle’s typically left-leaning demographics. But what is telling is how strongly people feel about Cotham’s switch, with just 11 percent of respondents claiming to be neutral on the issue.

It left me wondering what the spread would look like if it had been a Republican changing teams and handing Democrats a sliver of power.

Likewise, a similar chunk of folks – 57 percent – said they are “not confident at all” in a Republican-controlled legislature with another 18 percent saying they are only “slightly confident.” That compares to just 11 percent of folks who expressed complete confidence and the other 7 percent who are “fairly confident.” On this issue only 7 percent were neutral.

Now that Republicans have secured a legislative supermajority, they’ll be free to push a stronger party-line agenda. Our respondents ranked which issues they feel will be most affected. Unsurprisingly, women’s reproductive rights and abortion access topped the list, with 30 percent of respondents saying it will be affected the most. And you aren’t wrong. Republicans have already passed a bill that would outlaw abortion after 12 weeks in nearly all cases. While Gov. Roy Cooper has vowed to veto it, the supermajority means Republicans will likely be able to override it and enact the ban.

Across the board, gerrymandering and voting rights were the next two areas of potentially big impact. Of least concern for respondents was the effect a supermajority could have on government spending and the state’s economic growth.

We also had several people write that transgender and LGBTQ rights could see major effects. Another respondent wrote they felt a supermajority would mean “continued focus on citizens' personal life choices. the GA is not governing but rather is legislating moral and personal lifestyle issues!”

And like usual, for fun I asked what your favorite local team is to see live. Canes love is strong! Durham Bulls, surprisingly, not so much.

A note: Thanks for your patience in waiting a little longer for this write-up. I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately and apologize for the delay. As always, it’s a pleasure to read and analyze your responses.

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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