PPP's newest North Carolina poll continues to find a close race for Governor, but Pat McCrory has regained a small lead for the first time since the spring. McCrory's at 44% to 41% for Roy Cooper. McCrory has the slight advantage thanks to a 42/33 edge with independents, and because he has a more unified party with 76% of Republicans behind him to 70% of Democrats who support Cooper.
Although McCrory's horse race numbers have improved, he continues to struggle on the approval front. Only 35% of voters are happy with the job he's doing to 47% who disapprove, making it 26 months in a row now that his approval numbers have been in negative territory. Meanwhile 49% of voters say they have no opinion about Cooper one way or the other, with 27% rating him favorably to 24% with a negative opinion. McCrory has a 46/34 lead over the other Democratic candidate, Ken Spaulding.
It's the same old story in the Senate race- Richard Burr continues to have poor approval numbers but leads the potential Democratic candidates who might oppose him. Burr has just a 29% approval rating, with 40% of voters disapproving of him. What really brings his numbers down is how soft he is even with Republicans, who give him only a 47/23 approval spread.
Nevertheless Burr leads the possible Democratic field- it's 42/37 over Heath Shuler, 45/35 over Duane Hall, 45/34 over Deborah Ross, and 46/34 over Chris Rey. Shuler has 35% name recognition, compared to around 20% for the trio of other potential contenders and even if he doesn't run his relative closeness to Burr may indicate the potential for a competitive race once the eventual Democratic nominee does build up some name recognition.
As the General Assembly session dragged on its approval rating got lower and lower. We find just 14% of voters in the state approving of it to 62% who disapprove. Republicans (19/60), independents (13/63), and Democrats (11/63) all give pretty similarly negative reviews to the legislature's work this year. The unhappiness spreads to both parties though with Democrats in the body getting a 34/46 favorability rating, only nominally better than the 32/50 spread for the controlling Republicans. Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 45/41 which is a decent standing but nowhere close to the double digits leads they were posting toward the end of the 2013 long session. The level of anger just didn't reach the same level this time around.
Only 29% of voters approve of the budget that was passed to 38% who disapprove, although 33% with no opinion one way or the other may be a reality check on how closely voters pay attention to this kind of stuff. Only 22% of voters support the state's move toward partisan judicial elections, with 47% opposed to it. Democrats, Republicans, and independents are all opposed to that change in pretty similar numbers.
Notes on other issues: