PPP's newest poll on the North Carolina Governor's race finds a steady contest with Pat McCrory leading Walter Dalton by 6 points, 45-39. Libertarian Barbara Howe polls at 5%. 5 PPP polls conducted since Dalton won the Democratic nomination have all found the same thing- McCrory leading by either 6 or 7 points.
McCrory continues to be a popular candidate with 46% of voters holding a favorable opinion of him to 33% with a negative one. He has 79% name recognition compared to only 55% for Dalton. Dalton's favorability numbers have improved a net 12 points in the last month from -7 at 24/31 to +5 at 30/25.
McCrory leads thanks to strong support from independent voters and his crossover appeal to Democrats. With independents he holds a 20 point lead, 48-28. He's also taking 19% of the Democratic vote, compared to only 10% of Republicans going for Dalton. McCrory's done well on these two fronts throughout the campaign and if that continues he will win.
The good news for Dalton is that the undecideds skew heavily in his favor. 60% are Democrats, compared to only 18% who are Republicans. 40% are African Americans and 65% are women. These are folks who are voting for Barack Obama and voting Democratic for other offices but simply don't know Dalton that well yet. If those folks end up coming home in the end this is more like a 3-4 point race. You'd certainly prefer to be in McCrory's position but it's not over by any means.
North Carolinians are divided right down the middle when it comes to who they want in control of the legislature. 44% say they'll vote for Democrats this fall and 44% say they'll go for Republicans. Just as in the Governor's race independents lean toward the GOP, favoring them 41-30. Voters are disgusted with the legislature, giving it an overall 16% approval rating with 56% of voter disapproving of it. But they aren't pinning the blame on one party more than the other even though the Republicans have control- both the Democrats and the GOP in the General Assembly get a 35/48 favorability rating.
One final note on our North Carolina poll- in a time when Democrats and Republicans in the state don't agree on much of anything we found an issue where they're on the same page. 71% of voters think the ban passed on smoking in bars and restaurants 3 years ago has been a good thing for the state compared to only 19% who think it's been a bad thing. Democrats (75/15), independents (70/21), and Republicans (66/22) all think it's been a plus.
Full results here