Angst seems to be the order of the day in both our state and our nation, and in many parts of the world for that matter. It feels like we are constantly at each other’s throats about our differences—social, political, educational, economic and just about every other category we can we give a name. Our operative attitude is a snarling grrrr…
Let’s take a little break.
Public Policy Polling a North Carolina operation known for its accuracy in political forecasting, has a little fun every year polling us North Carolinians on what we like best about our state and what we don’t much like at all. Here is some of what we think about where we live and what goes on here.
No one is going to die of shock when we say North Carolinians love our basketball. A whopping 33 percent of us identify as UNC Tar Heel fans, and 81 percent of that group think Coach Roy Williams is doing a great job. Count me in that club. Down the road at Duke, 84 percent think Coach Mike Krzyzewski is terrific, but there are fewer folks in Duke’s fan base — 19 percent of North Carolinians cheer for Duke. It is downhill from there for other schools. N.C. State lays claim to 16 percent of our hearts, but Wake Forest earns the loyalty of only 5 percent of us. The worst ranking I have ever seen goes to Duke player Grayson Allen, the fellow with a penchant for tripping other players on the court, who earns an actual negative rating at -16. That guy might consider hiring a public relations firm.
Still regarding sports, though not our favorite one, the Carolina Panthers have taken a hit in the popularity department. Last year, 55 percent of us claimed to be Panther fans — although I know at least one person who could not care less, while only 44 percent do now. That is almost certainly because of a poor season, but the Panthers should not worry too much. North Carolinians do not like any other professional football teams much either. Nary a one even hits double digits.
We also have definite opinions about iconic North Carolina food.
We much prefer our native Krispy Kremes to Dunkin Donuts, 64/34 percent. This number goes down a bit when those polled came here from somewhere else, possibly up North. Those folks prefer Krispy Kremes by only 10 percent. Poor babies just don’t know any better yet, but I am confident they will learn. When it comes to barbecue, North Carolina’s long-running and unresolvable debate, we correctly prefer eastern (vinegar) style to western (ketchup) style — who doesn’t!?! PPP notes that barbecue is a rare issue on which Democrats and Republicans hold virtually identical opinions, probably because they all eat a lot of it and know whereof they speak.
I wish PPP had asked about oysters, clearly a love ‘em or loathe ‘em category. Put me in the first group.
And which of our cities do we love the most? Wilmington tops our list — hard to beat the beach, I guess, followed by Raleigh — the General Assembly cannot be the cause of Raleigh’s popularity, and Asheville — arts in the mountains are apparently a big draw. The list continues in descending order with Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Cary, Charlotte, Greenville, Carrboro, Durham and concludes with — so sorry to say — Fayetteville. The poll did not ask why people rated our cities this way, but the good news is that Fayetteville’s favorability has a positive net change of 8 points since 2012. Let’s think of that as progress.
Carolina! Carolina! Heaven’s blessings attend her!
While we live, we will cherish, protect and defend her!
Anyone recognize the opening lines of “The Old North State,” North Carolina’s official state song since 1927? Apparently, not many of us do, because 44 percent want to ditch “The Old North State” in favor of James Taylor’s “Carolina in my Mind.” At least we know the words and can sing along with that one.
And, finally, what with global warming and all, this may not matter a whit, but a fourth of us think North Carolina gets too much snow, a fourth of us think we get too little snow, and half of us think we get just the right amount. My guess is that some of our youngest Tar Heel citizens may not see snow in their lifetimes, or at least not in eastern North Carolina.
As a Tar Heel born and bred and who has been here for almost all my life, I adore and guard our little quirks as part of what makes us love calling North Carolina home. Despite my personal angst about much of what has transpired here lately, I would not want to be anywhere else, and I have faith that life will get better.
I just hope I am not a Tar Heel dead before that happens.