One thing that's been true all year is that whenever the GOP legislature comes back to town, it gets less popular. That's the case once again after their late November return to Raleigh. Only 29% of voters now have a favorable opinion of the Republicans in the legislature, a new record low. The previous worst had been 33%. 48% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of them. The biggest issue for the Republicans is that independents, after voting for the GOP by a huge margin in legislative contests last year, now give them a 22/44 favorability rating.
One reason the Republicans' numbers may have gone down is that voters don't exactly feel like what they came back after Thanksgiving to do- repeal the Racial Justice Act- was a terribly high priority. Only 23% of voters in the state oppose the act. Just 23% of voters support it either with 54% having no opinion- a good barometer of how closely your average voter follows the daily ins and outs of the General Assembly- but those numbers make it clear North Carolinians weren't exactly eager for the legislature to come back and spend taxpayer money addressing that issue. The numbers also make it clear that Governor Perdue has little to lose by vetoing the recent action by the Republicans on this bill given how few voters were eager to see it repealed.
Voters aren't too keen on the Democrats in the legislature either, giving them a 36/41 favorability rating. The generic legislative ballot is once again a tie with 44% of voters saying they'd vote Democratic if there was an election today and 44% saying they'd vote Republican, speaking to how truly divided down the middle the state currently is. The GOP had an 11 point advantage on this question in 2010- if an election was held with the current boundary lines a tie would almost certainly equate to Democrats winning back some of the seats they lost last year, although probably not enough for a majority. If the new redistricting lines do go into place though all bets are off- a statewide tie could mean the status quo in terms of how many seats each party controls.
Thom Tillis has been traveling around the state holding town hall meetings, but it's done little to build up a profile for him. 81% of voters say they have no opinion about Tillis and among those who do only 5% see him favorably to 14% with a negative view. Tillis is widely rumored to be prepping for a 2014 Senate bid against Kay Hagan, and we find him trailing the incumbent 46-34 in a hypothetical match up. Hagan's approval spread is 40/37, which compares favorably to senior colleague Richard Burr's 33/37.
Finally one finding in this poll points to a potential path to victory for Bev Perdue. 44% of voters in the state trust her more compared to 40% who put a greater deal of faith in the Republican legislature. Pat McCrory has tied himself closely to the unpopular new legislative majority so if Perdue can run against their agenda and McCrory's support of it, that might just be the way she pulls out a second term. It won't be easy, but it's something.
Full results here