McCrory Approval Hits New Low

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds Pat McCrory hitting his lowest approval since he took office, largely because of increasing unhappiness with him among Republican leaning voters. Just 33% of voters approve of the job McCrory is doing to 48% who disapprove. By comparison voters were much more evenly divided in their attitudes about him back in February when he had a 40% approval to 44% disapproval.

There’s been little movement over the last four months in McCrory’s numbers among people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012- he had an 11% approval rating with them in February and it’s 14% now. But among people who voted for Mitt Romney last time there’s been a much more pronounced decline in McCrory’s standing- he’s gone from a 69/19 approval with them over the winter down to just 56/29 now. This comes in the wake of McCrory vetoing several pieces of legislation supported by conservatives, and it seems that’s hurt him some with the party base.

For a second month in a row Roy Cooper leads McCrory by a narrow margin, 43/41. Although a plurality of North Carolinians (45%) don’t know enough about Cooper to have an opinion about him one way or the other he’s popular among those who do with 36% rating him favorably to 20% with an unfavorable opinion. Legislative sessions have not been good for McCrory’s approval numbers over the years but he has generally recovered from them within a few months after the honorables go home. Time will tell whether McCrory regains the modest advantage he had over Cooper before the last few months.

Richard Burr continues to have middling approval numbers- only 28% of voters give him good marks to 39% who disapprove. He also continues to have substantial leads over all of the potential Democratic opponents we tested against him though. He’s up anywhere from 8 to 14 points over the six people we tested against him. Former Congressman Heath Shuler comes the closest with an 8 point deficit at 44/36. Former Congressman Mike McIntyre is down 9 at 44/35, former Congressman Brad Miller and State Senator Dan Blue are down 10 at 46/36 and 45/35 respectively, State Auditor Beth Wood trails by 11 at 45/34, and State Representative Grier Martin lags by 14 at 47/33.

There’s been some discussion lately about the possibility of a primary challenge to Burr by Congressman Mark Meadows, but that looks like a non starter. Burr leads Meadows 62/9 in a hypothetical contest, and Meadows has minimal statewide name recognition.

The Democrats we tested are all little known, with their name recognition ranging anywhere from 23% to 36%. The simple reality is that there is no well known, well liked candidate that Democrats can run in this race. Someone who doesn’t have a lot to lose will just have to be willing to take a chance and hope that 2016 ends up being a strong Democratic year and that Burr’s anonymity with North Carolina voters will allow his opponents to define him before he can define himself- Kay Hagan took that chance under similar circumstances in 2008 and it worked out for her. For most people in races with conditions like this it doesn’t work out- but every now and then for the Hagans or Ron Johnsons of the world it does.

Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest continues to lead by a decent amount for reelection, 43/36 in a rematch of his 2012 contest with Linda Coleman.

Full results here

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