McCrory's approval rating stuck; potential Cooper matchup is dead even

Posted by John Frank on April 10, 2014 

Gov. Pat McCrory holds a press conference with his Cabinet members and senior leadership team at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh in January to address his 2014 legislative goals.

COREY LOWENSTEIN — clowenst@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Gov. Pat McCrory’s approval rating is holding steady at the not-so-great 40 percent mark, a new poll finds, and the Republican faces the prospect of a real challenge in 2016.

Public Policy Polling’s survey for April shows McCrory remains unpopular at 45 percent disapproval, essentially unchanged from the Democratic firm’s poll of registered voters a month ago.

Other polls have put his numbers at worse marks, with approval averaging in the upper 30s. From PPP pollster Tom Jensen: “This marks the 10th month in a row McCrory’s approval numbers have been under water.”

McCrory’s unpopularity also raises questions about whether he is an asset or a liability for Republicans in the 2014 election in terms of endorsements and fundraising. McCrory recently gave a nod toward House Speaker Thom Tillis in the U.S. Senate race.

In a hypothetical 2016 matchup against Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, the two tie at 43 percent with 15 percent undecided. It’s too early for the poll to hold real ramifications, but it’s an indication that Cooper, who is already making a bid for the job, may present a real challenge to the Republican incumbent. Cooper is unknown by half the voters, but among those who know him he is in positive territory at 33 percent favorable and 17 percent unfavorable.

The only other recent poll to ask the McCrory-Cooper question gave the Republican a 6 point advantage. The American Insights survey from February also was one of the only to give McCrory a slightly positive image. ( See more here.)

PPP also tested former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker against McCrory. Meeker is unknown to three-quarters of voters but polled 7 points behind McCrory, at 45-38 with 17 percent undecided.

In other results:

• About half of North Carolina’s voters don’t know the Koch brothers well enough to form an opinion, raising doubts on whether Democrat Kay Hagan’s strategy of attacking the conservative financiers as part of her Senate campaign is really helping her cause. Those who do know them, however, have a negative view with 36 percent unfavorable and 19 percent favorable.

• North Carolina voters oppose gay marriage 53 percent to 40 percent. It’s a shift from the firm’s May 2012 survey finding that 57 percent thought it should be illegal and 34 percent thought it should be legal. In May 2012, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in North Carolina.

The automated poll’s margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6 percent. Click here for more results.

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