A pretty consistent picture is emerging in PPP's monthly look at how North Carolinians feel about state government: Pat McCrory's popularity is holding up well but the legislature and many of its high profile proposals continue to be extremely unpopular.
McCrory's approval rating is a +13 spread this month with 49% of voters approving and 36% disapproving of his performance. His numbers have been very consistent over the last 3 months- +14 in February, +14 in March, and now +13. Compared to his predecessor that's good news for McCrory- from February to April of her first year in office Bev Perdue went from +11 to +1 before dropping into negative territory in May and never recovering.
The Republicans as a whole are getting poor marks for their leadership over state government though- 38% of voters approve of the job they're doing to 52% who disapprove. That's largely a function of the legislature. Republicans legislators have a 34/53 favorability rating, and the General Assembly as a whole has just a 20% approval with 56% of voters disapproving of it.
A whole bevy of bills introduced by Republican legislators recently are proving to be quite unpopular:
-Only 25% of voters support a proposal to forbid parents from claiming college students registered to vote away from home as dependents on their state taxes, compared to 57% who are opposed. This is another one where the Republican legislators supporting the measure are out of touch with actual Republican voters- only 26% support it with 56% opposed, not that different from the numbers among Democrats which are 22% supportive and 61% opposed.
-Just 33% of voters support cutting the early voting period by a week, while 59% are opposed. Republicans do narrowly support this idea (51/42), but Democrats (22/70) and independents (28/62) are heavily opposed to it.
-Only 22% of voters support eliminating the state's renewable energy standards, while 39% are against that idea. Republican voters (29/25) only narrowly support eliminating the standard while Democrats (13/47) and independents (28/41) are pretty firmly against it.
-Only 28% of voters support a proposal to make it a crime for law enforcement officers to enforce federal gun laws on North Carolina manufactured fire arms, while 42% are opposed. Democrats (33/41), Republicans (24/41), and independents (26/46) all think that one's a bad idea.
-The only high profile Republican initiative we polled that has much traction with voters is the one to make Christianity the official state religion. 42% support that to 45% who are opposed and while much of that support is because a majority of Republicans favor it (53/33) it actually has 41% support from Democrats too, much more appeal across party lines than any of these other proposals. Despite the decent level of support for Christianity as the state religion, only 16% of voters agree with the state legislator who labeled a prayer to Allah as an act of terrorism last week, although that does go up to 25% among Republicans.
What these numbers show is that while North Carolina has been getting a lot of national media attention of late for some of the unusual bills being proposed in its legislature, very few of these ideas have much traction with the public. It's a few legislators well out of step with the public whose actions are giving the state a certain image. And perhaps as a result of that Democrats have a 45-41 lead on the generic legislative ballot.
On another front it looks like North Carolina's swing state status is likely to continue in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for President. She leads Marco Rubio 49/42 and Rand Paul 52/40 in hypothetical match ups in the state.
Full results here