Gov. Pat McCrory starts his term of governor fairly popular, but with his approval rating having dropped since his sweeping November election victory.
McCrorys approval rating is 45 percent, with a 19 percent disapproval rating and 19 percent uncertain, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh. That is down eight points from a month ago.
His approval ratings are somewhat better than those of his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue. After a month in office, her approval rating was 43 percent, with 32 percent disapproval.
It is not clear why McCrorys numbers dropped. The public greeted his Cabinet picks with 31 percent approving, 24 percent disapproving and 45 percent not sure of his choices.
Most people were clueless about the two most-talked-about picks. His choice of Raleigh businessman Art Pope as state budget director was viewed favorably by 12 percent and unfavorably by 19 percent, with 69 percent unsure. Same thing for Tony Tata, the new transportation secretary, who was viewed favorably by 14 percent and unfavorably by 19 percent, with 67 percent unsure. McCrory had the approval of 73 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats.
Berger on Hagan
State Senate Republican leader Phil Berger, meeting with reporters Wednesday, did nothing to quell talk that he might challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in 2014. At a pre-legislative session briefing, Berger acknowledged that he had been approached about running.
I am focused on what we are doing in the General Assembly at this time, Berger said, coyly declining either to cite his interest or to rule out running. I will leave it to someone else when it is time for someone to make a decision about running for other office. I am not running for any other office at this time.
But he did take a shot at Hagan, for not supporting a provision included in the so-called fiscal cliff measure that dealt with the long-term extension of unemployment benefits.
There is a significant amount of disappointment on my part by virtue of federal legislators, particularly Sen. Hagan, to make sure North Carolina had a grandfather provision that would have allowed us to craft a state solution to the unemployment insurance problem that would have actually been better for those unemployed, and better for employers, and better for the job climate in North Carolina.
House Speaker Thom Tillis is also considering challenging Hagan.
On a related note, the state chapter of the national Fix the Debt campaign reacted Wednesday to the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff, but vowed to keep up the pressure on politicians in Washington to come up with a long-term solution.
In a teleconference with reporters, co-chairman Bob Ingram, the retired CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, and Mary-Ann Baldwin of the Raleigh City Council continued the effort begun in November when the group kicked off its campaign. Fix the Debt is a national effort promoting a way out of the federal debt by building on recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles commission.
The recent deal to avert the fiscal cliff did prevent massive tax hikes on the middle class, but squandered a tremendous opportunity to resolve our nations debt crisis, Ingram said. Instead of lurching from crisis to crisis and reaching small ball deals at the eleventh hour, Washington needs to proactively deal with our fiscal challenges in a thoughtful and comprehensive way.
Staff writers Rob Christensen and Craig Jarvis
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