WRAL misinterprets its own poll results

WRAL used results from a poll that makes no mention of the budget fight to claim, “[Gov. Roy] Cooper is winning the popular vote in the ongoing battle.”

The poll asked voters a hypothetical question about expanding Medicaid that obfuscates the budget cost and consequences, let alone the general confusion between Medicaid and Medicare, and found 57% of people support helping “additional low-income adults not currently covered, with the federal government paying 90 percent of the cost.” Two years ago, a reputable national organization found 70% of people supported Medicaid work requirements and a progressive think tank found 57% opposed them, largely because of question wording.

Another question contrasted school funding and business taxes, and two asked whether teachers should be paid more. Not surprisingly, people supported schools and teachers.

I do not think these results mean what WRAL thinks they mean. The questions make no mention of the vetoed budget pending in the state senate, the capital projects funded in it, Cooper’s veto of a “mini-budget” bill that would have funded Medicaid transformation, Opportunity Scholarships that 67% of voters (and 78% of minority voters) support but that Cooper would defund, or any of the other areas of contention.

Even more importantly, the survey does not ask questions WRAL would need to reach its conclusion. Here are a couple options:

Do you support Gov. Cooper’s veto of the state budget in support of expanding Medicaid to able bodied adults without dependents, not cutting taxes for businesses, freezing funds for Opportunity Scholarships, raising teacher pay more than already in the budget, and borrowing $4 billion for capital projects instead of paying for them with available cash?

Should Gov. Cooper and the General Assembly begin negotiations for a new budget bill that would cover state spending for the rest of the fiscal year through June, should Democratic legislators show bipartisanship and join Republicans to override the veto of a budget bill that would cover state spending for the rest of the fiscal year through June, or should the budget that is already in place continue for the rest of the fiscal year through June?

Joseph Coletti / Senior Fellow

Joe Coletti is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation focused on fiscal policy issues. He previously headed the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiativ...

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