HPU poll shows gas prices continue to affect North Carolina households

Published November 3, 2022

By High Point University Poll

In a new High Point University Poll, half (51%) of North Carolinians said higher gas prices have affected their household a lot. Just over one-third (37%) said a little bit, and 9% said not at all.

A bit more than one-third (37%) of these same North Carolinians said gas is more expensive in their area, compared to a month ago. Two out of five (42%) said affordability of gas was about the same, and 17% said gas was more affordable than a month ago in their area.

North Carolinians were also asked to consider how the prices they are currently paying for products compared to last year. The majority said prices are much higher for gas in their cars (70%), meat (64%), eggs (57%), fruits and vegetables (51%), and milk (50%). Less than half of the poll respondents said that they are paying a much higher price for natural gas (47%), bread (45%), electronics (42%), clothing (40%), water (36%) and toys (35%).

“Majorities of North Carolinians continue to say that gas prices are affecting their household a lot, according to this most recent HPU Poll,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct instructor. “In addition to paying more for gas than they did compared to a year ago, a majority of respondents feel that they are also paying more for foods like meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and milk.”

The poll also asked respondents to indicate who or what is to blame for current levels of inflation. They were practically split between placing a lot of the blame on the COVID-19 pandemic (42%) and on President Joe Biden (40%). Around one-third of North Carolinians felt that a lot of the blame should be on big business in the United States (36%), Russia (35%) and China (30%). Even fewer said that a lot of the blame should be on Republicans in Congress (27%), the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. (27%) or U.S. consumers themselves (17%).

“We have seen energy prices begin to stabilize but many other areas of the economy such as food and housing have not,” said Brandon Dragone, visiting instructor of economics in the Phillips School of Business. “The federal government’s policies of continuing to raise interest rates will continue to be a major policy tool to help combat inflation. The risk, however, is how this will impact borrowing since the price of borrowing money will increase. This could help heal inflation but may also create a new recession.”

HPU Poll Gas Affordability

NC residents – Prices Currently Paying (October 2022)

Thinking about the prices you are currently paying for products on this list compared to last year, would you say prices are much higher, somewhat higher, about the same as last year, somewhat lower, or much lower in price?
All Adults
  Much higher price Somewhat higher price About the same Somewhat lower Much lower Unsure or don’t buy
Gas for your car 70 20 5 2 1 4
Meat 64 24 6 1 1 5
Eggs 57 27 9 2 1 4
Fruits and vegetables 51 33 11 1 1 4
Milk 50 31 9 2 1 6
Natural gas 47 23 8 2 1 20
Bread 45 37 11 2 1 4
Electronics 42 32 14 1 1 10
Clothing 40 36 17 2 0 5
Water 36 30 23 2 1 8
Toys 35 23 13 2 0 27


NC residents – Gas Prices (October 2022)

How much would you say higher gas prices have affected your household?

A lot – 51%

A little bit – 37%

Not at all – 9%

Unsure – 3%

HPU Poll Gas Prices 

NC residents – Gas Price Affordability (October 2022)

Compared to a month ago, is gas more affordable, about the same or more expensive in your area?

More affordable – 17%

About the same – 42%

More expensive – 37%

Unsure – 5%


NC residents – Deserves Blame for Inflation (October 2022)

Please indicate whether you think each of these people or things deserves a lot, some, not much, or no blame for current levels of inflation. [PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER]

All adults
  A lot Some Not much None at all Unsure
The COVID-19 pandemic 42 30 10 7 11
President Biden 40 23 16 9 12
Big business in the United States 36 32 13 6 14
Russia 35 28 14 7 16
China 30 32 15 6 18
Republicans in Congress 27 25 20 12 16
The Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. 27 33 14 6 21
U.S. consumers 17 31 23 15 15

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by the High Point University Survey Research Center on Oct. 19 through Oct. 27, 2022, as an online survey using a panel of 1009 North Carolina respondents recruited and maintained by Dynata. Dynata sent invitations to its panel of NC respondents and the SRC collected responses on its Qualtrics platform. The SRC did all data analysis. The online sample is from a panel of respondents, and their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity and education based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.