-After bottoming out in September, Pat McCrory's approval numbers continue to tick back up. 42% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 47% who disapprove, a big improvement from 35/53 three months ago. McCrory's numbers are most notably improving with independents- he's back on narrowly positive ground with them at 44/43 after having dropped all the way to 32/57 in September. He's also seeing some progress with his party base, going from 62/24 in late summer up to 68/18 now.
Voters aren't happy with the McCrory administration's policy of making people pay for any public records request that takes more than 30 minutes to process though. Just 23% say they agree with that rule to 62% who disagree with it, and even Republican voters say by a 34/48 spread that they disagree with the McCrory administration's approach on that issue.
-The state legislature remains very unpopular even while out of session. Only 20% of voters approve of the job it's doing to 53% who disapprove. There's plenty of unhappiness to go around for both parties. The Democrats in the legislature are unpopular with a 35/45 favorability rating, and the Republicans are even more unpopular at 34/51. Democrats hold a narrow 45/43 advantage on the generic legislative ballot but that's well down from what it was over the summer and may limit their opportunities to make gains next fall.
Perhaps because voters don't care for the legislature Moral Monday protesters were rallying against, only 28% think those who were arrested should be prosecuted compared to 54% who think the charges should be dropped. Democrats (72/15) overwhelmingly think charges should be dropped, a majority of independents (50/27) d0, and even a third of Republicans (32/46) do.
-Just as we found a month ago Chris Christie is the only Republican who leads Hillary Clinton at this point in North Carolina, 45/42. Clinton has modest leads over Jeb Bush (46/45) and Rand Paul (48/44) and then holds a wider lead over Ted Cruz at 49/41.
Our final two public polls for 2013 will be a national poll and a Kentucky poll this weekend.
The national poll we'll do all the normal political stuff but we're also interested in doing questions about the holidays in general and the War on Christmas more specifically. So any question suggestions along those lines would be much appreciated, in addition to the more traditional stuff.
Kentucky we'll obviously do McConnell vs. Grimes and Bevin. What else would you like to see us ask about there?
Thanks as always for all the great question suggestions over the course of this year!
-Hillary Clinton still leads her top potential opponents for 2016 in Michigan, but the margins are a good deal closer than they were 6 months ago. Clinton is up 43/40 on Chris Christie, 46/42 on Jeb Bush, 48/39 on Rand Paul, and 49/38 on Ted Cruz. This is the first time Cruz has been tested, but Clinton's average lead of 5 points over Christie, Bush, and Paul is quite a bit down from an average lead of 13 points over that trio when we polled the state in June. The decline in Clinton's leads mirrors what we found for Democrats in the races for Governor and Senate on this poll.
Rand Paul narrowly leads the Republican field in the state with 18% to 16% for Chris Christie, 15% for Ted Cruz, 10% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Marco Rubio, 7% for Paul Ryan, 5% for Scott Walker, 4% for Bobby Jindal, and 2% for Rick Santorum. Christie win the moderates (31% to 15% for Paul and 8% for Cruz) and Cruz wins the voters identifying themselves as 'very conservative' (27% to 18% for Paul and 10% for Christie), but Paul leads overall because he's up with folks identifying as 'somewhat conservative' (21% to 10% for Cruz and 9% for Christie).
-One place where things are continuing to look pretty positive for Michigan Democrats is how voters feel about the legislature. Opinion about the Democrats is pretty closely divided, with 40% rating them favorably to 42% with an unfavorable opinion. Meanwhile the Republicans remain incredibly unpopular with only 28% of voters giving them positive marks to 57% who hold a negative view.
Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot by an 8 point margin at 46/38. What that will amount to in terms of seats gained given gerrymandering in the state is unclear but it's obvious voters continue to be displeased with how legislative Republicans have conducted business since the last election.
-As we're finding most everywhere Michigan voters strongly support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour- 57% would support such a move to only 35% who are opposed. It has overwhelming support from Democrats (87/8), a majority of independents (51/40), and even a little more than a quarter of Republicans (27/64).
After several months of declining poll numbers that saw Kay Hagan go from leading her potential GOP opponents by double digits to being effectively tied with most of them, her numbers have leveled out this month. 43% of voters approve of the job she's doing to 49% who disapprove, almost identical to 44/49 in November. Still it's clear the Obamacare rollout has taken its toll on her- in September she had this same 43% approval rating, but her disapproval has spiked 10 points from its 39% level then.
Hagan finds herself in toss up territory with all of her potential Republican opponents. She leads Thom Tillis 44/42, is tied with both Heather Grant and Mark Harris at 43, and trails both Greg Brannon and Bill Flynn 45/43. Those numbers are all pretty similar to what they were in November.
It may seem counter intuitive that Tillis, generally seen as the likely Republican candidate, is the only one who trails Hagan. That's a reflection of his being the only one of the GOP candidates who's particularly well known, and it not being a good thing for him. Only 12% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 30% with a negative one, a residual effect of his association with this year's unpopular legislative session. That's causing him to poll slightly worse than the more generic Republican candidates.
There's not much doubt that Barack Obama's declining popularity and the difficulties with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act are causing Hagan trouble. Obama's approval in the state is just 44%, with 55% of voters disapproving of him. That's one of the highest levels of disapproval we've found for him during his entire tenure. 65% think the rollout of the ACA has been unsuccessful, compared to only 30% who think it's gone well. It's actually worth noting though those numbers are a slight improvement from a month ago when 69% rated it unsuccessful to only 25% positive.
PPP's first Michigan poll in six months finds that the GOP has made gains of 7-8 points in the races for Governor and Senate. Rick Snyder, who trailed Mark Schauer 42/38 for reelection as Governor in June, now holds a 44/40 advantage. And Terri Lynn Land, who had lagged Gary Peters 41/36 in the race to replace Carl Levin, now holds a 42/40 advantage.
Snyder won by an overwhelming margin in 2010 because he dominated with independents and had an unusual amount of crossover support from Democrats. He's still nowhere near where he was with those groups 3 years ago, but he's making progress. In June he trailed Schauer 39/37 with independents but now he's back out to a 10 point lead with them at 44/34. And while he was winning just 10% of the Democratic vote in the spring, now he's back up to 15%.
The news isn't all great for Snyder though. Although his approval rating is up from its 40/52 standing on our last poll, it's still under water at 42/49. A big part of the reason for Snyder's lead continues to be Schauer's continuing low name recognition- only 36% of voters have an opinion about him. The silver lining for Schauer about that fact is the undecideds for Governor are strongly Democratic leaning- they voted for Obama 54/33 last year- so he may gain ground as he comes better known.
The other cloud for Snyder in these numbers is that his signature right to work law remains unpopular as we approach the one year anniversary of its passage. Only 40% of voters support it to 47% who are opposed, pretty much mirroring Snyder's approval figures. And 45% say they would vote for a ballot measure to repeal the law, compared to 39% who say they would vote to uphold it.
Terri Lynn Land may not have been the GOP's first choice of a Senate candidate, but she starts out the race with pretty good favorability numbers for this political climate. 34% of voters in the state see her positively to 23% with a negative opinion. Peters remains mostly unknown, with 57% saying they don't have an opinion about him one way or the other. The big shift in this race over the last six months has come with independents. They were basically tied in June, but Land has now opened up a 17 point lead with them at 47/30.
-The recalls of two Democratic State Senators in September weren't an anomaly when it comes to how Colorado voters are feeling about the state legislature. Republicans lead the statewide generic legislative ballot by a 47/42 margin, including a 41/30 advantage with independents. Those numbers are perhaps also indicative of how much trouble Democrats would be in at the top of the ticket next year if the GOP candidate fields were a little bit stronger.
-Colorado legalized civil unions earlier this year but voters in the state are ready to take the next step and make gay marriage legal too. 53% think it should be allowed to just 39% that think it should continue to be illegal. Among voters under the age of 45 it's a 60/32 spread in support of legalizing it. 80% of voters in the state at least support civil unions, compared to only 18% who think there shouldn't be any legal recognition at all for same sex couples. Even with Republicans there's 66% support for civil unions.
-A little over a year after Colorado voters decided to legalize marijuana it doesn't look like they're having any second thoughts about that choice. 53% continue to think marijuana usage should be legal, compared to only 38% who believe it should be illegal.
-As we're finding most places there's strong support in Colorado for raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 56% favor it to only 33% who are opposed. It has overwhelming support from Democrats (84/9), strong support from independents (53/33), and even wins favor from about a third of Republicans (30/56).
PPP's new Colorado poll finds voters closely divided in their feelings about both Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall- but also that this could prove to be another place where Republicans waste an opportunity by running the wrong candidate.
In 2010 Hickenlooper defeated Tom Tancredo by 15 points. Yet despite having half a dozen candidates to choose from next year, Republicans are still leaning toward nominating Tancredo again. He gets 34% support among GOP primary voters to 15% for Scott Gessler, 9% for Greg Brophy, 3% each for Mike Kopp and Jim Rundberg, and 2% for Steve House.
Voters are pretty split in their opinions about Hickenlooper with 45% approving of him to 48% who disapprove. But in a head to head match up with Tancredo he still leads by 8 points at 48/40. He has similar margins against Mike Kopp (45/37) and Scott Gessler (47/40). The Republican who comes closest, despite having minimal name recognition, is actually Greg Brophy at 44/43. Tancredo and Gessler are both much better known but with favorability ratings of 31/42 and 15/24 respectively they are not particularly well liked so their being known isn't really a good thing.
We're seeing a similar story in the Colorado Senate race. Ken Buck proved to be a very poor candidate against Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a contest Republicans were generally expected to win all year long. And now GOP voters are ready to run him again- 45% say he's their choice for Senate candidate to just 8% for Randy Baumgardner, 7% for Amy Stephens, 2% for Owen Hill, 1% for Jaime McMillan, and less than 1% for Mark Aspiri.
-Almost halfway through his first term, Mark Kirk is one of the most anonymous Senators in the country. 32% approve of him, 32% disapprove, and the largest percentage at 37% doesn't have an opinion about him one way or the other. What's interesting about Kirk's numbers though is that while Republicans are not that enthused about him (only a 35/27 approval), Democrats don't really have much of a problem with him compared to most Republican Senators (a 23/35 approval). That crossover support means he might not be an easy out in 2016- he ties Lisa Madigan at 41 in a hypothetical head to head, taking 15% of the Democratic vote while losing only 11% of Republicans.
-Even in President Obama's home state voters aren't particularly sold on the Affordable Care Act. Only 44% support it to 45% who are opposed. And when it comes to implementation, 70% of voters say it's been unsuccessful compared to only 26% who it's gone well. 82% of Republicans, 79% of independents, and even 53% of Democrats think that's gone poorly.
-As we're finding most places Illinois voters strongly support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 58% support such a move to only 34% who oppose it. The concept has overwhelming support from Democrats (77/19) and independents (57/30), and even 34% of Republicans favor it.
-Chris Christie is the top choice of Illinois Republicans to be their candidate for President in 2016. 18% say he would be their top choice to 13% for Ted Cruz, 12% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Rand Paul, 9% for Paul Ryan, 7% for Scott Walker, 6% for Marco Rubio, and 4% each for Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Walker's 7% standing is stronger than we've found for him anywhere else other than Wisconsin, probably because of geographic proximity, but it still shows he's just not that strong a national figure yet. We see the same pattern in Illinois as elsewhere- Christie crushes Cruz with moderates (26/8) and leads with 'somewhat conservative' voters (13/10) as well, which makes up for his getting blown out with 'very conservative' voters (24/12).
Colorado and Michigan won our vote on where to poll this week, and we're also due for our monthly North Carolina poll. We're going to do the Michigan poll during the week, and then we'll do Colorado and North Carolina over the weekend.
There are a ton of Republicans running for both Governor and the Senate in Colorado. Guidance on who is important to include in head to heads against John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall would be much appreciated. And of course any other question suggestions you have for Colorado would be as well.
In Michigan the races for Governor and Senate seem pretty well set, what else should we look at there?
And North Carolina we have our standard set of questions we ask every month but if there's anything in addition to what we normally ask those ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks as always for all the good ideas!
-Pennsylvania really shows what a wide disparity there is between Chris Christie's appeal and the rest of the Republican Presidential candidates. He leads Hillary Clinton 48/44 in the state, while the rest of the GOP hopefuls do as bad or worse than Mitt Romney did there last year. Clinton leads Jeb Bush 48/44, Rand Paul 51/43, Rick Santorum 51/42, and Ted Cruz 53/41.
Christie also leads the Republican primary field in the state with 26% to 16% for Ted Cruz, 14% for Rand Paul, 10% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Rick Santorum, 6% for Marco Rubio, 5% for Paul Ryan, and 3% each for Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker. Even there Christie is weak with 'very conservative' voters, getting just 11% to 23% for Cruz and 19% for Paul. But with moderates Christie gets 45% to 13% for Paul, 10% for Bush, and just 5% for Cruz.
In the Democratic primary there's not much of a home state bonus for Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton still gets 61% to 13% for Biden, 11% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Andrew Cuomo, and 2% for Cory Booker. Clinton does well with pretty much every segment of the Democratic electorate.
-Bob Casey (44/42 approval) is faring better with voters in the state right now than his junior colleague Pat Toomey (36/46 approval). Both Senators are down a net 7 points on their approval compared to when we last polled the state in March. Toomey would tie Joe Sestak at 42 in a rematch of their 2010 match up that he pulled out by a couple points, and he would trail Attorney General Kathleen Kane 46/42 in a hypothetical contest. 2016 is certainly a long way off but early indications are that this should be a competitive race.
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