On the same day President Barack Obama visits North Carolina, a new poll puts his approval rating at a new low: 40 percent.
Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen said it’s the lowest ever rating for Obama in the Democratic firm’s monthly North Carolina poll. His disapproval rating is 54 percent with another 5 percent unsure, according to numbers released first to Morning Memo.
Self-identified independents overwhelmingly disapprove – 63 percent to 26 percent approval – and even one in five Democrats are upset. A driving factor is the federal health care law, which musters 38 percent approval in North Carolina compared to 48 percent who are opposed.
Sixty-one percent of voters think its implementation has been unsuccessful with about one-third deeming it a success. The number is actually slighting improving for the president; in November the unsuccessful mark stood at 69 percent.
The poll – with a plus-or-minus 2.6 percent margin of error and conducted last weekend – is likely to fuel Republicans’ criticisms of Obama’s visit.
***Obama visits a day after big headlines in North Carolina politics. The N.C. Senate race is heating up with Thom Tillis feeling the pressure and Hagan on the defensive. And lawmakers are making big news on fracking and health and human services. Get more and a full guide on the president’s visit below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
The Next Generation Power Electronics Institute will be headquartered on NCSU’s Centennial Campus. Over the next five years, the U.S. Department of Energy will provide $70 million to the institute, to be matched by at least $70million in nonfederal money by the businesses and universities and the state of North Carolina. Read more here.
It was at Reynolds Coliseum where Obama – worried that his march to the White House was about to crash and burn – claimed victory in the North Carolina Democratic presidential primary, essentially ending the effort of his chief rival, fellow Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Today, Obama faces a different challenge when he speaks at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center: How to refocus a second term that is threatened by problems with his troubled health care program.
Obama’s two trips to N.C. State reflect not only different points of crisis in his career, but starkly different political climates. Read more here. RELATED VIDEO: Rob discusses the president’s visit. See it here.
It’s not uncommon for governors to welcome the president to the state but this is the first time McCrory has done so.
The Environmental Review Commission will meet at 9:30 a.m. in room 643 of the legislative office building. The Joint Purchase and Contract Study Committee meets in room 544 at 1 p.m.
One chair at the front sat empty. Thom Tillis didn’t show. Again.
It’s the third candidate forum that the state House speaker has skipped and the second this month. The two previous forums were hosted by county tea party groups – a population skeptical of Tillis’ candidacy – but the latest event was hosted by the county Republican Party in a part of the state where Tillis will need to run strong to win his party’s nomination.
Tillis’ absence is a driving storyline for party activists in the still-young race. But political analysts say it is a strategic calculation – and one with an unclear result.
Romney, Brannon said, favored abortion rights until 2007. “To me, you cannot ever waver on life,” he said. Read more here.
( NOTE: Look for more highlights from the forum in coming days.)
The Tar Heel state Democrat hopes to gain an advantage by contrasting her work on Capitol Hill with the influence of undisclosed outsiders who are pouring in money to defeat her.
"These individuals don’t know the people, don’t know the values, don’t know the problems,” Hagan said in an interview on Tuesday previewing her 2014 campaign. “They’re looking for any issues having to do with their corporations and their taxes.” Read more here.
The public safety standard will help the energy companies protect their secret sauce used in natural gas drilling, but critics said it would also keep residents in the dark about potent chemicals used near local farms and waterways.
The rule was passed after nearly three hours of intense debate Tuesday, and it follows more than a year of deliberations that had the commissioners tied up in knots. Read more here.
“I deeply apologize for the impact this has caused to the citizens of this state,” said Dr. Aldona Wos, state Department of Health and Human Services secretary, at a legislative committee meeting that once again focused on the agency’s shortcomings. Read more here.
McCrory previewed his legislative agenda in a speech at the Hunt Institute’s Holshouser Legislators Retreat on Monday night, though he did not provide specific policy plans. Read more here.
The Republican governor made the argument in a letter to two Democratic congressmen who last week accused him of leaving voters in the 12th Congressional District without representation for nearly a year.
McCrory’s letter came hours after the state NAACP implicitly threatened legal action if he doesn’t change the schedule. Read more here.
N.C. Medicaid budget prediction still unavailable. Read more here.
New York Times: Ads Attacking on Health Law Stagger Outspent Democrats. Read more here.
N.C. lawmakers at odds over unemployment benefit extension. Read more here.
State senator wants McCrory administration to take over Union County DSS. Read more here.