HB 2 Deeply Unpopular in North Carolina; Voters Think It’s Hurting State

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new North Carolina poll finds minimal support from voters in the state for HB 2, and that voters think its passage has hurt the state in several ways.

Just 36% of voters in the state support HB2, to 45% who are opposed. Independent voters are against it 33/46, and Democrats (20/63) are more unified in their opposition to the bill than Republicans (56/24) are in their support. Voters think the bill is having a bad effect on both the state’s economy and its overall reputation. 54% think it’s had a negative impact on North Carolina’s economy, to only 11% who think it’s having a positive impact. On that front even GOP voters by a 17 point margin grant that it’s having a more negative than positive effect on the state economically. 53% of  voters think HB2 has had a negative effect on North Carolina’s national reputation, to only 22% who claim they think it’s had an overall positive impact on the state’s image. Because of these things, just 32% of voters in the state think HB2 is actually helping North Carolina, compared to 53% who think it’s hurting the state. Independent voters, by a 53/30 spread, side with Democrats in thinking that HB2 is doing a lot more damage to the state than good.

Voters also don’t think HB2 is having the positive impact it was purported to have. Only 37% think its passage has made the state safer, to 44% who think it has not. Again on this aspect of the issue independents join with Democrats in saying by a 34/44 spread that it’s not making North Carolina safer. A lot of the rhetoric around the bill been about protecting women but they both oppose the bill (33/46) and think it’s failing to make the state safer (34/48) by even wider margins than the population as a whole.

Following his signing of HB2 and subsequent defense of the bill, Pat McCrory is trailing Roy Cooper for the first time in 3 months in our polling. Cooper has the advantage with 43% to 42% for McCrory, with Libertarian Lon Cecil at 4%. McCrory led our North Carolina polls in both February and March but has seen his deficit among Democrats grow from 65/16 to 73/14 amid the furor over HB2. One of the reasons McCrory was elected by such a wide margin in 2012 was substantial crossover support from Democrats, and he’s lost most of that in the subsequent years. McCrory is under water on his approval rating for the 33rd month in a row, with only 40% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 49% who disapprove. Meanwhile Cooper has seen his favorability numbers rise after refusing to defend HB2- he has a 37/27 favorability rating, up from 33/28 a month ago.

The anger over HB2 isn’t doing Republicans in the legislature any favors either. Only 30% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of them to 52% who see them negatively. That -22 net favorability rating is 8 points worse than the -14 spread legislative Democrats hold at 32/46. Democrats have a 45/42 advantage on the generic legislative ballot, including 40/34 with independents.

Full results here


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