NC Governor’s Race Close

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll continues to find a tight race for Governor, with Richard Burr’s leads against hypothetical opponents for the Senate increasing even as his approval numbers continue to be mediocre.

Pat McCrory leads Roy Cooper 44/41 this month, almost identical to the 43/41 advantage he had in late February. McCrory is sporting some of his lowest approval numbers in recent history this month, with 36% of voters giving him good marks to 45% who disapprove. Cooper continues to have relatively low name recognition with 50% of voters saying they don’t have an opinion about him one way or the other. McCrory leads the other Democratic hopeful, Ken Spaulding, by a 46/33 spread. 

McCrory’s lost ground in 2 key areas since his resounding 2012 victory. That year we found he won independents by a 2:1 margin. He still has the upper hand with them, but at 45/30 it’s a lot more competitive than it was against Walter Dalton. McCrory also now gets only 14% support from Democrats, where we found him getting 21% of the Democratic vote in 2012. McCrory’s support levels with independents and Democrats aren’t bad, but they’re not nearly what they were last time either and that’s why we’re headed for a much closer race this time around.

In the Senate race Richard Burr’s approval numbers remain middling but he has double digit leads over all of the potential Democratic foes we tested him against. 36% of voters approve of the job Burr is doing to 37% who disapprove, numbers that would generally put you pretty seriously in the danger zone. But 5 out of the 6 Democrats we tested against him have low name recognition- Brad Miller comes in at 32%, Dan Blue at 31%, Janet Cowell at 28%, Grier Martin at 22%, and Jeff Jackson at 19%. The one Democrat who does have strong name recognition is Kay Hagan, but there continues to be no sign of improvement in her favorability numbers after last year’s Senate race- 37% of voters see her positively to 53% with a negative opinion.

Burr leads Miller (45-34), Cowell (46-35), and Blue (47-36) by 11 points each. His lead over Hagan is 12 points at 50-38, it’s 14 points over Martin at 46/32, and it’s 16 points over Jackson at 46/30. 

2 other notes from North Carolina:

-Thom Tillis continues to be easily the state’s least popular politician. Only 30% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 40% who disapprove. Just like with Hagan, the passage of time since the election isn’t doing much to get him to a better place.

-Republican Dan Forest leads Democrat Linda Coleman 40/36 in a prospective rematch of their 2012 Lieutenant Governor contest, similar to what we found a month ago.

Full results here

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