PPP's newest look at the race for Governor in North Carolina finds it the closest it's been in a while- Pat McCrory leads with 43% to 41% for Roy Cooper. McCrory had led by 5-7 points on the previous two surveys. Cooper's getting a little bit more support from Republicans and independents than he had the last two polls, which could be a real thing and could just be statistical noise.
McCrory's approval numbers remain remarkably stable, with slightly more voters disapproving (44%) than approving (40%) of his performance. In the three polls we've conducted since the conclusion of the 2014 election McCrory's approval has come down at 41/46, 41/45, and now this 40/44 mark. Not much is happening to move voters perceptions of him. Although Cooper only has 55% name recognition, he has generally favorable numbers among those familiar with him as 34% rate him positively to 21% with a negative opinion. McCrory would lead the other potential Democratic candidate, Ken Spaulding, by a 44/35 spread.
Richard Burr's situation remains stable- an approval rating in the low 30s danger zone, but leads of 6-12 points against his most mentioned potential Democratic opponents who are either unknown or unpopular. Burr has a 32% approval, with 37% of voters disapproving of him. He had come in at 31/36 and 34/35 on our previous two surveys, showing the same kind of relative poll to poll stability that McCrory has.
Burr leads Treasurer Janet Cowell 44/38, former Senator Kay Hagan 50/43, former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx 45/36, and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines 45/33. For most of the potential hopefuls a lot of their deficit is attributable simply to the fact that they're not very well known. Foxx has 40% name recognition, Cowell 30% name recognition, and Joines 22% name recognition. Being well known isn't a problem for Hagan- 92% of voters have an opinion about her- but there's still no sign of the high negatives all of last year's attack ads created for her wearing off. 54% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of her to only 38% with a positive one, exactly where we found her last month.