PPP's new North Carolina poll finds Roy Cooper slightly ahead of Pat McCrory for the third month in a row, 42/39. McCrory's approval numbers continue to be some of the worst he's had during his entire time in office, with only 35% of voters approving of the job he's doing to 48% who disapprove. Even on the off chance that McCrory were to face Democratic under dog Ken Spaulding he still only polls at 40% to 35% for Spaulding.
A big part of why McCrory's approval ratings have gotten so bad this summer is that even many Republican voters have soured on him- he only has a 56% approval within his own party to 28% of voters who disapprove. It's still not likely that McCrory would have much to worry about with a potential primary challenge though- he leads Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest 60/20 in a hypothetical contest. Forest has only 36% name recognition even with GOP primary voters, and he would start out trailing Cooper 42/33 in a head to head. So as weak as McCrory is right now it's not like the Republicans would be better off with someone else.
One reason for McCrory's struggles is the unpopularity of the legislature, which has become more and more unpopular as the summer drags on. Only 15% of voters approve of the job it's doing to 60% who disapprove, the highest level of unhappiness with it in quite a long time. Even though McCrory and the General Assembly are often at odds, the average voter just sees one big unpopular Republican state government without differentiating too much between the legislators and the Governor. The good news for McCrory is that usually when the legislature goes home his numbers get better, so we'll see if that pattern repeats itself again this year.
The overall picture in the US Senate race remains the same as ever- voters are ambivalent toward Richard Burr but he still starts out ahead for reelection against a field of potential Democratic challengers who are pretty much unknown. Only 31% of voters approve of the job Burr's doing to 37% who disapprove, definitely putting him in the vulnerable range. He leads all of the Democrats who have recently been discussed as potential challengers to him by 7-8 points though. His advantage is 42/35 over Heath Shuler, 43/36 over Deborah Ross, 44/37 over Chris Rey, and 44/36 over Duane Hall. Shuler leads the pack in name recognition at 32%, followed by Ross at 26%, Rey at 23%, and Hall at 21%. Burr's approval makes him theoretically in trouble, time will tell if any of his potential opponents can make that trouble a reality.
Other notes from North Carolina: