NC Governor’s Race Remains Tied; HB2 Still Unpopular

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest look at the North Carolina Governor’s race finds…a very familiar looking picture. Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper are tied at 41% each, with Libertarian Lon Cecil getting 6% and 13% of voters undecided. McCrory has an under water approval rating for the 36th month in a row, coming in at 43/47 this time around. Cooper continues to be a bit of a blank slate to voters in the state- a 35% plurality have no opinion about him one way or another with 34% seeing him favorably and 31% unfavorably. There doesn’t seem to be much of anything that could blow this race open in one direction or another.

We also looked at a pair of other North Carolina statewide races. The contest for Lieutenant Governor is tied with Republican incumbent Dan Forest and Democratic challenger Linda Coleman each at 37%, followed by Libertarian J.J. Summerell at 4% and 22% of voters undecided in that contest. So to review our North Carolina findings this week, the Presidential race is tied, the Gubernatorial contest is tied, the race for Lieutenant Governor is tied, and it’s just a 3 point margin in the Senate race. It’s hard to imagine there’s another state more competitive politically this year.

The crucial race for control of North Carolina’s Supreme Court finds incumbent Bob Edmunds leading challenger Mike Morgan just 28/24, with 48% of voters undecided in that nonpartisan contest. A lot of the time the key to winning these judicial races is which side does the better job of getting the word out to its party base about who their candidate of choice is and for now it looks like Republicans have a leg up on that front- Edmunds leads 56/8 with his party, compared to a 40/11 advantage for Morgan with Democrats.

It’s been 3 months now but HB 2 isn’t getting any more popular. Just 32% of voters in the state support it to 43% who are opposed, including 31/48 opposition among independent voters. That’s a reflection of voters not feeling it’s achieving its intended purpose. Only 30% of voters think it’s made North Carolina safer, to 47% who say it hasn’t had that impact. There was a lot of talk about HB2 being needed in particular to protect women, but only 26% of them think it’s increased safety and they oppose the bill 25/44.

Only 28% of voters think HB2 is helping North Carolina, to 52% who think it’s hurting the state. Voters feel it’s having an adverse effect both on the state’s economy (49% say it’s having a negative impact, only 10% a positive one) and on the state’s national reputation (50% say it’s having a negative impact, only 19% a positive one.)

The General Assembly remains unpopular, with only 18% of voters approving of the job it’s doing to 57% who disapprove. That doesn’t portend a huge shift in seats this fall though because even though the Republicans are in charge voters are pretty equally unhappy with both parties- the Democrats in the legislature have a 34/48 favorability rating and the GOP is almost identical at 34/49. Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 45/43 which would likely translate into some seat gains but nothing dramatic.

PPP’s annual poll on baseball in North Carolina continues to find that the Braves are the most popular team in the state, with 27% of voters identifying themselves as Braves fans to 14% for the Yankees, 8% for the Red Sox, and 5% each for the Orioles and Cubs with no one else over 3%. The Braves may still be first but their level of fandom is down from 36% a year ago as the team suffers through another last place season. 52% of North Carolinians would like there to be a Major League Baseball team in the state, to only 21% who say they wouldn’t. Support for an MLB team is considerably higher in Charlotte (53/21) than in the Triangle (38/36) so that might be where it has to go.

Finally we find that even in Stephen Curry’s home state voters think LeBron James is the superior basketball player. 38% say that James is better when asked to pick between the two, to only 25% who go with Curry. Curry does at least win out 43/23 in metro Charlotte where he grew up, but most of the rest of the state thinks that LeBron is the better player.

Full results here

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