PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that voters in the state are closely divided about the 2020 Presidential election. Donald Trump has a 46% approval rating, with 49% of voters disapproving of him. Trump did 6 points better in North Carolina than he did nationally in the 2016 Presidential election, so it’s not surprising that his -3 net approval rating in the state is better than the -10 or so net approval he has nationally right now.
In hypothetical match ups with the 5 leading Democratic candidates for President, Trump ranges from trailing by 3 points to leading by 3 points. Trump gets 46 or 47% regardless of the Democrat he’s tested against, while the level of support for the Democrats fluctuates based on their name recognition. The two Democrats with leads over Trump are the best known- Joe Biden is up 49-46 on him and Bernie Sanders is up 48-47. Trump narrowly leads the lesser known Democrats- it’s a 47-46 edge over Kamala Harris, a 48-46 one over Elizabeth Warren, and a 47-44 one over Pete Buttigieg.
On average Trump leads the Democrats by 0.2%. North Carolina was the second closest state in the country for President in both 2008 and 2012 and at least at this early stage seems like it could be headed for a similarly close outcome in this election cycle. Still, an evenly divided North Carolina is not a great sign for Trump given his 4 point margin of victory in the state in 2016.
On another note related to Trump, 73% of North Carolinians think campaigns that receive offers of foreign assistance should report it to the FBI, to only 9% who disagree with that. Clinton voters (83/6) and Trump voters (68/11) alike think this sort of interference should be reported to the authorities.
We also find a close race for Governor, with Roy Cooper leading Dan Forest 45-41. This represents a significant tightening from PPP’s last poll of the race in January when Cooper led 47-35. The movement since then is due to Forest consolidating his support among Republican leaning voters. On the January poll Forest’s advantage among Trump voters was 62-18, but now it’s 76-9. It’s worth noting that this is a much closer finding than two other recently released polls- a Civitas poll conducted by Harper Polling recently found Cooper ahead 47-37 and an Emerson College poll found Cooper ahead 52-38. Forest is also widely expected to draw a primary challenge from State Representative Holly Grange.
Voters are closely divided on Cooper’s job performance, with 40% approving and 41% disapproving of the job he’s doing. He fares well compared to the General Assembly though which only 25% of voters approve of to 45% who disapprove. If voters had to choose between Cooper or either of the Republican legislative leaders running the state they’d take Cooper over Phil Berger 46-39 and over Tim Moore 46-38.
Things haven’t changed much since November when it comes to the landscape for General Assembly races. Democrats won the statewide legislative vote last year by 2 points, and they continue to hold a 2 point lead on the generic legislative ballot at 45-43. It’s a very evenly divided state and the numbers we find right now for President, Governor, and the General Assembly are all reflective of that.
North Carolinians are closely divided about a lot of things but something they’re increasingly not that closely divided about is LGBT issues. 67% of voters in the state support laws that protect LGBT people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing to only 19% who disapprove. That includes support from majorities of Democrats (77/12), independents (70/13), and Republicans (50/32) alike. On a related question 63% of voters in the state say they think LGBT people should be entitled to the same rights as everyone else to 19% who disagree with that premise. Again there’s bipartisan agreement (74/11 with Democrats, 69/14 with independents, and 43/36 with Republicans.)
Full results here