Mecklenburg residents split evenly when given a choice between building more roads and providing more options public transportation, a new survey shows.

When 422 people were asked to choose, 46.3 percent favored building more roads, while 45.3 percent chose public transportation.

Sixty-three percent said they “support” or “strongly support” extending the LYNX light rail line throughout the county.

Those were just some of the findings reported Tuesday in the latest Elon University Poll, which was conducted earlier this month with help from Johnson C. Smith University.

The survey, which has a 4.9 percent error margin, covered topics ranging from the local economy to public sentiment toward Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll, said such widespread support for light rail showed evidence of a changing Charlotte.

“North Carolina is becoming an urban state,” he said, “and as an urban state, Charlotte is paramount to that.”

The survey showed support slightly stronger for building a commuter line to Lake Norman (44.8 percent) versus to the northeastern part of the county (36.5 percent), which would include a stop at UNC Charlotte.

Nearly half of those surveyed (49.5 percent) said they would either support or strongly support a quarter-cent sales tax to fund bus and light rail projects.


  • Just over 74 percent said they believed the national economy has either leveled off or has started to improve.
  • Thirty-five percent said they expect the Charlotte economy to get better in the next six months, versus 43 percent who said it would stay the same and 18 percent who predicted it would get worse.
  • Seventy-five percent said the economic downturn had affected them personally.
  • More than half (50.6 percent) said they either disapprove or strongly disapprove of the federal government “providing money to local banks and other financial institutions in an effort to help those institutions.”
  • When asked if Charlotte’s economy is too dependent on banks, 64.2 percent answered yes.


  • More than 61 percent said they were either satisfied or strongly satisfied with the quality of health care in the United States, versus 47.2 percent who were either dissatisfied or strongly dissatisfied.
  • Nearly 51 percent said they opposed or strongly opposed a “national insurance plan paid for by the federal government that pays most medical and hospital costs for all citizens,” versus 42.6 percent who said they support or strongly support it.

Click here to download the complete survey results, including sections on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and attitudes about public safety.

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