A majority of North Carolinians continue to be unhappy with Bev Perdue's job performance and the relationship between that and likely Republican legislative gains this fall shouldn't be underestimated.
Perdue's the face of Democrats in state government and her approval rating continues to languish at 35% with 51% of voters disapproving of her. She's starting to see some improvement in her numbers with her own party's voters, pushing her favor with Democrats to 57%. But she continues to be toxic with independents at a 25/64 approval spread and whatever limited appeal she may have ever had to Republicans is gone. Only 8% of them like the job she's doing.
When you have a highly unpopular Governor that's going to take a toll on your party's legislative candidates and Republicans continue to hold a 50-42 lead on the generic legislative ballot. That's fueled mainly by a 50-27 advantage with independents and an incredible degree of GOP unity. While 17% of Democrats say they're planning to support Republican candidates this fall, only 2% of Republicans say they'll go back in the other direction and vote Democratic.
If Republicans really do end up having an 8% advantage on the legislative vote in November they will almost definitely gain control of both the House and the Senate. But many legislative Democrats have a long history of outperforming the general leanings of their districts and if that remains the case again this year the party could narrowly retain control.
Back to Perdue's numbers- while her approval rating is better than it has been some months over the last year and a half what might be most distressing for her is that just 18% of voters in the state think she's improved on her first year performance during her second year in the Governor's mansion. 27% they think she's gotten worse and 55% feel she's doing about the same, which is not a good sign given how dimly voters viewed her after year one. Part of her problem may be a failure to communicate with average voters. 48% think her communications efforts have been ineffective while only 36% think she's doing a good job on that front.
Perdue still has time to rehabilitate her image for her own reelection campaign but it looks like it's too late for her to be anything but a liability for Democratic candidates across the state this fall.
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