Politics & Government

Poll shows how much NC residents think HB2 is hurting the state’s economy

On the eve of March Madness, a new poll shows most North Carolinians think the economic impact of the NCAA and other tournament games lost to House Bill 2 are “extremely important.”

And nearly two-thirds of residents say the law has had a large economic impact on the state.

Those are among the results of a new poll by High Point University and Greensboro’s News and Record newspaper.

The poll comes days before the start of the ACC men’s basketball tournament and two weeks before the NCAA tournament. The ACC women’s tourney, which is in Myrtle Beach this week, was moved from Greensboro because of HB2. The 2016 law overturned a Charlotte LGBT ordinance and required transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate, not their gender identity, in government buildings.

The poll also comes as lawmakers are at loggerheads on efforts to repeal the law, even as an NCAA deadline nears that could determine whether the state hosts championship games for the next six years.

The High Point Poll showed:

▪ Sixty percent of North Carolinians say the economic benefits of hosting championship events is “extremely important.”

▪ Sixty-three percent say the law has had a large economic impact. It’s blamed for the loss of hundreds of jobs, canceled events such as the NBA All Star game and millions of dollars in lost visitors revenue.

▪ A majority – 59 percent – say the law is unnecessary to protect public safety. Advocates say it protects the safety and privacy of people in restrooms and locker rooms.

▪ North Carolinians are more closely split on whether cities should be allowed to adopt non-discrimination ordinances. Forty-seven percent agree; 46 percent disagree.

“North Carolinians have complex views on HB2, but in general are concerned about its economic impact on the state,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll.

The poll was conducted Feb. 18-23. The margin of error is 4.6 percentage points.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill