Polls show GOP McCrory ahead in governor's race

Democrats more popular in other races
Oct 02, 2012

Public Policy Polling's new poll of the North Carolina Governor's race finds Republican Pat McCrory leading Democrat Walter Dalton 47-37, with Libertarian Barbara Howe at 5 percent. This is the biggest lead McCrory's had in a PPP survey since Dalton won the Democratic nomination in May.

The key for McCrory is that the attacks on him over the last four months just haven't done much to affect his image. He has a +12 net favorability rating with 46 percent of voters giving him positive marks to 34 percent who have a negative opinion. That's not much different from May when he was at +13 (41/28).

McCrory's lead continues to be driven by two major factors: a high level of crossover support from Democrats, and a huge advantage with independents.  McCrory's winning 19 percent of the Democratic vote while losing only 7 percent of Republicans to Dalton. And he's up by a 52/22 margin with independents.

-The good news for Democrats is that McCrory's strength at the top of the ticket isn't hindering them too much further down the ballot. In three Council of State races with Democratic incumbents we find all of them winning. June Atkinson is up 44-34 on John Tedesco for Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elaine Marshall's up 41-34 on Ed Goodwin for Secretary of State, and Wayne Goodwin's up 41-36 on Mike Causey for Insurance Commissioner. In the one race with a Republican incumbent that we looked at this month Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry leads challenger John Brooks 41-37.

-The most important state race this year besides Governor may actually be for the Supreme Court. In that nonpartisan race the de facto Democrat candidate, Sam Ervin IV, leads the Republican incumbent Paul Newby by a 31-23 margin. The 46 percent of voters undecided is not terribly surprising in a race where voters can't just go on party labels. Ervin is winning 44 percent of Democrats while only 37 percent of Republicans are currently committed to Newby.

-The General Assembly continues to be very unpopular with North Carolina voters. Only 16 percent give it a positive approval rating to 54 percentwho disapprove. Both parties in the legislature are unpopular but the Republicans (33/47 favorability) are seen a little bit more dimly than the Democrats (35/45). Despite all that Democrats have only a 46-44 lead on the generic legislative ballot. That's a huge shift from 2010 when our final poll found Republicans leading by 11 on that question, but under these districting lines Democrats would need to win by more than that to get back a majority in the legislature. It probably translates to winning back a handful of seats.

-The hotly contested political races in North Carolina appear likely to continue in 2014. Right now Kay Hagan leads a hypothetical Republican opponent 46-43. That speaks to the possibility of a hotly contested Senate race that could be pivotal in helping to determine who has control of the chamber after the midterm elections. Meanwhile Richard Burr continues to be one of the most anonymous Senators in the country- 29 percent of voters approve of him, 30 percent disapprove, and 41 percent don't have an opinion one way or the other.

This analysis is also available on our website:



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