NC Governor’s Race Continued Toss Up; Ross Off to Good Start

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s monthly North Carolina poll finds both Roy Cooper and Deborah Ross polling a little better following their official candidacy announcements over the last few weeks.

Our monthly look at the North Carolina Governor’s race finds Cooper edging Pat McCrory 44/43. Cooper has now had nominal advantages 4 of the last 5 months, although McCrory had the upper hand 44/41 in September. The key to the Governor’s race being so competitive continues to be McCrory’s unpopularity. Only 36% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 49% who disapprove, making it 28 months now since we found him with a positive approval rating. Cooper is still unknown to a plurality of voters in the state- 48% have no opinion about him- but among those who do have one 31% see him positively to 21% with a negative opinion.

We also took our first look at the Democratic primary for Governor, but it doesn’t look like much of a contest. Cooper leads challenger Ken Spaulding 58/13.  Cooper has majority supports from liberals, moderates, men, women, seniors, white voters, and perhaps most notably has a 56/19 advantage over Spaulding with African Americans. For whatever it’s worth, Spaulding trails McCrory by 15 points at 46/31. 

In the Senate race Richard Burr continues to have his requisite mediocre approval numbers with only 29% of voters giving him good marks to 39% who disapprove. Deborah Ross is now polling within 4 points of Burr, 43/39, following the announcement of her candidacy. Burr has wider leads over the other Democrats in the field- it’s 44/35 over Kevin Griffin and 45/34 over Chris Rey. None of the Democratic candidates have greater than 27% name recognition at this point.

Ross starts out as a big favorite in the Democratic primary, polling at 33% to 16% for Griffin and 6% for  Rey although certainly with 45% of voters undecided there’s still a long way to go. Ross leads the Democratic hopefuls by every subgroup of ideology, gender, race, and age.

The bottom line on the 2 big North Carolina races remains the same: the Governor’s race is a toss up, and Burr is favored in the Senate race but has weak approval numbers that make him potentially vulnerable as the Democratic hopefuls become better known- if it turns out to be a good year for their party.

Full results here

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