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Civitas poll: North Carolina voters vastly overestimate NC ethnic diversity

Posted Sunday, June 1, 2014

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Raleigh, NC – The latest Civitas Institute Poll shows North Carolina voters overestimate the diversity of the state’s ethnic makeup.

Voters’ average view is that the state’s population is 51.4 percent white, 33.5 percent black and 23.8 percent Latino.

According to estimates* from the U.S. Census Bureau, 69.8 percent of North Carolinians are white 21.4 percent are black, and 8.3 percent are Latino or Hispanic.

“News programs, TV shows and other media give their audiences a distorted picture of North Carolina’s ethnic composition as it actually is today,” said Civitas President Francis X. De Luca. “That may affect how voters see other issues.”

The inspiration for this question came from a 2012 Center for American Progress survey which showed Americans vastly overestimate the current level of diversity in the population.

“As the North Carolina population changes in both age and ethnic diversity, it is important to be aware of those changes and any demands they will put on the state and localities,” De Luca added. “But just as important is that people have a true understanding of not only this information, but of other important data points that are part of the policy discussion.”

The poll of 600 registered North Carolina voters was conducted May 20-22, and has an error margin of plus/minus 4 percent. Twenty-five percent of the respondents were contacted on cellphones.

Text of question:

“Now I am going to read you a list of races or ethnicities. After I read each one, I would like you to tell me what percentage of North Carolina is made up of that particular race or ethnicity. If you are unsure, please give your best guess. Remember, you can use any percentage from zero to one hundred percent … .”


White or Caucasian.

51.4% 50.0% 50.0%

Black or African American.

33.5% 30.0% 30.0%

Hispanic or Latino.

23.8% 20.0% 20.0%

For crosstabs, click on: Demographics poll, May 2014.

This poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted May 20-22, 2014 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered general election voters in North Carolina. Twenty-five percent of the respondents were cell phone-only users. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past two general elections (2010, 2012) or be newly registered to vote since November 7, 2012.The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.”

**Census data available at:

Civitas conducts the only regular live-caller polling of North Carolina voters. For more information on Civitas polling, see

The Civitas Institute is a policy institute based in Raleigh, N.C. More information is available at, or contact Jim Tynen at (919) 834-2099 or

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Civitas poll: North Carolina voters vastly overestimate NC ethnic diversity