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Archive for February, 2012

Poll: Obama’s approval rating stable while Perdue’s, Congress’ ratings lower

Monday, February 13th, 2012

HIGH POINT, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — The most recent HPU Poll, fielded by the High Point University Survey Research Center, finds that 44 percent of North Carolinians approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance – a stable finding compared to the last HPU Poll fielded in November. The poll also found that approval of Gov. Bev Perdue and Congress appear to be slightly lower with Perdue’s approval rating at 35 percent and the approval rating for Congress at a mere 11 percent.

Job approval questions:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Approve – 44 percent

Disapprove – 47 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 9 percent

“Our first approval reading of the new year shows neither improvement nor deterioration of the president’s standing with North Carolina residents,” said HPU Poll director Martin Kifer. “We’ll be watching in the coming months to see whether this approval rating moves decisively in one direction or another.”

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Bev Perdue is handling her job as governor?

Approve – 35 percent

Disapprove – 48 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 17 percent

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

Approve – 11 percent

Disapprove – 78 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 12 percent

“Residents of North Carolina do not appear to be highly supportive of either the governor or the U.S. Congress at this point in time,” said assistant HPU Poll director Sadie Leder. “This dissatisfaction with Congress in particular mirrors what we see at the national level.”

The survey also found that North Carolinians continue to be pessimistic about the economy nationally and within their home state.

Economic condition questions:

Right now, do you think the economic conditions in this country as a whole are getting better or getting worse?

Getting better – 42 percent

Getting worse – 45 percent

Neither better nor worse – 12 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 2 percent

Right now, do you think the economic conditions in the state of North Carolina are getting better or getting worse?

Getting better – 36 percent

Getting worse – 50 percent

Neither better nor worse – 11 percent

Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent

The High Point University Survey Research Center fielded the survey from Jan. 30-Feb. 2 and Feb. 4-9, 2012. The responses came from 660 adults with landline and cellular telephones in North Carolina selected by a Random Digit Dial (RDD) method giving the survey a margin of sampling error of approximately 4 percentage points. For smaller subsamples the margin of sampling error is larger. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

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Leland town manager considers fired police chief’s appeal

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Timothy Jayne was fired Feb. 1. He appealed the decision last week.

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Williams DWI case delayed until March

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The DWI case against Pender Commissioner David Williams was continued again.

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Analysis: Obama sets up clash with GOP in budget

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s new federal budget showcases the major priorities of his presidency and sets up the top battles that will be waged on both sides in the presidential campaign.

In its calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending on job-creating programs and higher taxes on the wealthy, Obama’s $3.8 trillion spending outline for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 contrasts sharply with Republicans’ opposition to any and all tax increases and proposals for deep spending cuts, including in popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama’s spending blueprint projects a deficit above the $1 trillion mark for the fourth year in a row. But it also seeks to achieve about $4 trillion in deficit-reduction over the next decade, $1.5 trillion of it through tax increases.

His budget throws down a clear marker of his priorities. And both parties are sure to point to the document on the campaign trail.

The president will point to his tax proposals in trying to rally middle-class support for a second term. Polls show most Americans believe the wealthy should pay more taxes.

With the jobless rate stuck above 8 percent for three years, Obama’s proposal to increase spending on short-term measures for job growth and for highway and other construction projects also could prove popular.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Obama said in his budget message. “Instead, we are facing a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get there.”

Republicans who want to make deficits and mounting debt the theme of their campaign were quick to denounce what they see as Obama’s big government, tax-and-spend ways. The government now borrows about 40 cents for every dollar it spends.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney called it “an insult to the American taxpayer.” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said it “falls exceptionally short” in not doing more to cut mandatory benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Against that background, Obama stands virtually no chance of Congress passing his spending plan before the election. Congress hasn’t passed a budget resolution since the spring of 2009, more than a thousand days ago, as Republicans continually point out. And the current super-charged political atmosphere in Washington
strongly suggests one won’t be passed this year either.

But it doesn’t really matter. While the budget is largely a wish list, it also telegraphs Obama’s priorities and lays down a marker of where he wants each federal agency to put its focus.

In the meantime, government operations will continue to be paid for by separate appropriations bills.

The president’s new budget projects a $1.33 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. After that it sees the deficit falling to $901 billion in fiscal 2013. But that would assume congressional adoption of Obama’s policies, including $1.5 trillion in new revenue by raising taxes on households earning more than $250,000 a year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Raum covers economics and politics for The Associated Press.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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NC Supreme Court hears student bra search case

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court is going to decide whether officials at an alternative school should have required students to participate in a bra search based on a tip that pills were being bought to class.

LaToya Powell of the state attorney general’s office, which is representing the school, told the court Monday the searches in 2008 were minimally invasive. During the search, students had to untuck their shirts and lift their bra away from their body.

An attorney for a student at Brunswick County Academy says her client was humiliated by the search, which was done in the presence of two men.

The state Court of Appeals ruled last year the searches were unconstitutional as well as “degrading, demeaning and highly intrusive.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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