mp; Record (Greensboro, North Carolina)
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HIGH POINT - Does North Carolina need HB 2? Most North Carolina residents say no.
A High Point University/News & Record poll released Tuesday found that 59 percent say the law isn't necessary to protect privacy or public safety. Thirty-seven percent said the law is needed. Another 5 percent had no opinion about one of the state's biggest political debates in years.
Those numbers are virtually unchanged from a HPU/N&R poll done back in September.
Signed into law last March, House Bill 2 requires, among other things, that people use public restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates. Republican lawmakers who backed HB 2 say the law is necessary to keep men out of women's restrooms. Opponents said the law discriminates against transgender persons.
The fallout was swift. The NBA, ACC and NCAA pulled championship events from North Carolina. Some entertainers - Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Maroon 5 - canceled performances. PayPal decided not to open a facility in Charlotte because of the law. The News & Record reported Sunday that it appears German shoe and apparel maker Adidas steered a new factory to Georgia instead of High Point because of HB 2.
Have North Carolinians noticed? Tuesday's poll says yes they have.
According to the poll, 85 percent say the economic benefit of sporting events is somewhat or extremely important to the state. Another 82 percent say the boost to the state's reputation from big-time sporting events is also somewhat or extremely important.
Some 63 percent say the economic impact of HB 2 has been large. (About a fourth called it "small.") And 64 percent said it's more important to end the economic impact to the state than enforce the law.
A lot of sports-loving North Carolinians have had their feelings hurt by all of these cancellations. Some 42 percent say it's unfair for the ACC, NCAA and other sports leagues to decide to move their championships elsewhere because of the law. Slightly more than half (53 percent) call it fair.
As the poll was being conducted, two Democrats and two Republicans filed a bill to repeal HB 2. House Bill 186, among other things, would ban cities and counties from regulating access to bathrooms in private facilities. Advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons have generally come out against the bill because it's not a full repeal of HB 2.
The local-versus-state issue remains a source of deep division. According to the poll, 47 percent say North Carolina communities should be able to adopt their own anti-discrimination laws - something now prohibited by HB 2, which leaves that decision up to state lawmakers in Raleigh. Another 46 percent say cities shouldn't be allowed to pass their own non-discrimination laws.
In response to another drama playing out in Raleigh, 54 percent said the General Assembly should play a role in confirming the governor's nominees for cabinet agencies and departments. Some 29 percent said it shouldn't. Nearly 20 percent had no opinion.
The Republican-led General Assembly put in place a confirmation process after Democrat Roy Cooper won the governor's race in November. Cooper has sued to stop the process. The Senate, meanwhile, issued a subpoena last week for Larry Hall, Cooper's pick to run the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, after Hall skipped three scheduled confirmation hearings.
The poll of 451 North Carolina adults was conducted by live telephone interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center between Feb. 18 and Feb. 23. The poll has a margin of error of about 4.6 percentage points.
Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.
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