In the contest for governor, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper holds a significant 52% to 43% lead over incumbent Pat McCrory. Another 3% say they will vote for Libertarian Lon Cecil and 3% are undecided.
Cooper has the support of 93% of Democratic voters, while McCrory gets the backing of 89% of Republicans. Independents are divided at 47% for Cooper and 45% for McCrory. Cooper has a net positive personal rating of 38% favorable and 18% unfavorable, with 44% expressing no opinion of him. McCrory’s personal rating is more divided at 39% favorable and 41% unfavorable, with 20% having no opinion of him.
Importantly, Tar Heel voters are split on the incumbent’s performance as governor, with 45% approving of the job McCrory has done and 46% disapproving. A key element in the governor’s rating is his support for House Bill 2 or HB2, the controversial law that prohibits local governments from allowing for transgender public restrooms.
A majority of voters (55%) disapprove of HB2 compared to fewer than 4-in-10 (36%) who approve of HB2. Among voters who approve of the law, 74% are backing McCrory in the governor’s race. Among those who disapprove of it, 72% are voting for Cooper.
“McCrory is trying to take control of the HB2 debate with a new TV ad. As of right now, though, North Carolina voters feel it has hurt the state, which is helping Cooper’s bid to unseat the incumbent,” said Murray.
The Monmouth University Poll found that 7-in-10 voters (70%) feel the passage of HB2 has been bad for North Carolina’s reputation nationally. Only 9% say it has been good for the state’s image and just 14% say it has had no impact. Even among those who approve of the law itself, 41% say HB2 has been bad for the state’s reputation compared to 21% who say it has been good and 28% who say it has had no impact.
The poll also shows Hillary Clinton up by 2, and GOP Sen. Richard Burr up by 2 in his re-election run against Deborah Ross, and even with the poll's high 4.9% MOE, McCrory is definitely running behind.
In fact, regardless of the Monmouth poll, the news for McCrory, Burr, and other NC Republicans is looking pretty grim.
Although the state has voted for a Republican president all but twice since 1968, the national tea party wave in 2010 brought the state legislature and governor’s mansion under Republican control for the first time since Reconstruction. North Carolina then moved rapidly to the right with several conservative reforms that caused an uproar among liberals in the state.
Now, over the last few weeks as the possibility of tough election losses sinks in, top Republicans and some donors — who have had much to celebrate over the last six years — are trying to plot contingency plans to make up for the lack of field organization and advertising dollars from the Republican Party’s nominee to boost down-ballot candidates, sources say.
Their fear is that a Trump loss by more than four or five points could put a dent in the party’s super majorities in the state legislature and a Democrat in the governor’s mansion, reversing the political course of the state.
“I do think that people need to be very open eyed about what could potentially go wrong,” said one such top Republican who has been involved in discussions. “The sky isn’t falling, but it’s cloudy and we need to get in gear. It’s going to require a different level of organization and intervening from the top of the ticket than we’ve seen, and it’s going to require support from outside groups.”
So if support for Trump and McCrory starts to soften considerably, my home state could finally find the votes it needs to free itself from the Republicans who have been destroying it for the last six years.