Under the Dome

Early – really early – poll finds NC governor’s race a toss-up

It's 995 days before the 2016 election and at this point the governor's race is a toss-up.

In a February survey, Public Policy Polling tested a (super early) hypothetical match-up between incumbent Republican Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory holds a narrow 43 to 41 percent lead that is within the plus-or-minus 3.7 percent margin of error.

Pollster Tom Jensen's spin: If Cooper secures the nomination, independents stand to be a battleground: McCrory and Cooper split the group 36-36.

Cooper is making clear his intentions to run, but so is Durham attorney Ken Spaulding, who was not polled.

The numbers from the Raleigh-based Democratic polling firm suggest an improvement for McCrory, though, who fell behind to Cooper 48 to 41 percent in September.

The first-term governor's approval rating also ticked upward to 39 percent with 44 percent disapproval. In January, PPP pegged McCrory at 37-47, meaning the movement is within the margins.

More than half voters – 54 percent – don't have an opinion about Cooper. Among those who do, he sits in positive territory at 27 percent favorable and 18 percent unfavorable.

In other super early hypothetical match-ups, Democrat Hillary Clinton leads potential Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, PPP found.