-Pat McCrory leads Bev Perdue 48-39 for Governor this month. That 9 point lead is the largest McCrory's had in our polling since April. Perdue had trailed by only 4-5 points in September and October, representing her best standing against McCrory all year. The main shift since last month is that Perdue trails McCrory by 18 points with independents at 50-32. Last month it was only an 8 point deficit.
What's curious about McCrory's widening lead is that it doesn't correspond with a drop in Perdue's approval numbers. 38% of voters approve of her to 50% disapproving, and that's actually improved a little bit from last month when the spread was 37/51. 38% also represents her second highest approval number in our monthly polling since April of 2009. We'll see in the coming months if McCrory's enhanced lead is real or just normal fluctuation in this round of polling.
-The proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is passing by a 59/35 margin this month, representing a little bit of progress for those hoping to defeat it from last month when it was ahead by a 61/34 spread. That movement's due to Democrats going from narrowly supporting the amendment (49/44) to narrowly opposing it 42/48.
Particularly interesting on this month's poll is that 60% of North Carolinians say they support some form of legal recognition for gay couples- the highest we've ever seen that number. 26% are for full marriage rights with another 34% preferring civil unions. Only 38% say they're completely opposed to any legal recognition. The problem is that 40% of those favoring some form of legal recognition are still planning to vote for the amendment- even though it would bar all legal recognition and not just gay marriage. Getting pro-civil union voters to oppose the marriage amendment will be the key for those hoping to defeat it- there's a lot of education to be done.
-North Carolinians remain split right down the middle in how they would vote if there was a legislative election today. 44% say they would generally vote for Democratic General Assembly candidates and 44% say they would generally vote for Republican General Assembly candidates. A year ago this week Republicans held a 51-40 lead on the generic ballot, so Democrats have made a lot of progress since then. Whether a statewide split would result in many, if any, Democratic gains under the new redistricting plan is hard to say though.
Legislative Republicans remain very unpopular with a 34/50 favorability rating. But voters still aren't seeing the Democrats as a particularly compelling alternative either- their favorability is 37/44. Democrats have the electorate feeling the way they need to about Republicans in order to win some seats back next year- but they may not have the electorate feeling the way it needs to about Democrats in order to win some seats back next year.
Full results here