Gubernatorial candidates spar over HB2 and the economy
UPDATED Neither candidate for governor has been able to break away yet, the polls continue to show, raising the question: Is this the way it’s going to be until November?
Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper are tied at 41 percent each, according to the results of a Public Policy Polling survey released Monday, largely mirroring the trend in other surveys to date.
Democratic nominee Cooper continues to be an unknown quantity for the plurality of respondents: 35 percent have no opinion about him; 34 percent view him favorably and 31 percent unfavorably.
Respondents’ view of McCrory, meanwhile, continues to be under water: 43 percent have a favorable impression and 47 unfavorable.
One other factor to mix in: 13 percent of the voters surveyed don’t know who they’ll vote for in the governor’s race. Libertarian candidate Lon Cecil received 6 percent.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, incumbent Dan Forest is tied with his Democratic challenger, Linda Coleman; each at 37 percent. Twenty-two percent say they are undecided.
As Tom Jensen of the Democratic-leaning PPP observes: With these results and recent polling showing the presidential race is tied in North Carolina, and the U.S. Senate race finds the incumbent up by just 3 points, “It’s hard to imagine there’s another state more competitive politically this year.”
In the N.C. Supreme Court contest, incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds is running ahead of Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan 28 to 24 percent, and 48 percent are undecided. The office is nonpartisan.
House Bill 2 has the support of 32 percent of voters surveyed, and is opposed by 43 percent. Pollsters found 30 percent think it has made the state safer, and 47 percent said it hasn’t mattered. HB2 pre-empted Charlotte and other cities from expanding protections to gay and transgender people that would allow them to use the restrooms of their gender identity and other rights.
The state legislature has the approval of 18 percent of voters, while 57 percent disapprove of the job it’s doing — and that goes for either party: Democrats in the General Assembly have a 34-48 percent favorability rating and Republicans have 34-49 percent.
PPP surveyed 947 registered voters, which is not as accurate as polling likely voters. The survey was on June 20 and 21, and the margin of error is 3.2 percentage points. Eighty percent were selected through a list-based sample on the phone, and the rest who didn’t have landlines were surveyed through the internet.
Although other polls have found similar results as PPP in the governor race — the recent Real Clear Politics average putting McCrory up just 0.2 percentage points — McCrory’s campaign has consistently dismissed Public Policy Polling surveys as partisan.
On Monday, campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz trotted out the parody polling gimmick they have used in the past.
“For a more honest poll, people should follow RRR polling – polling of Republicans for Republicans by Republicans,” Diaz said in an email. “Unlike PPP, they are transparent about manufacturing their polls to get their desired results."
Cooper’s campaign spokesman Ford Porter also weighed in.
"Wow, it's still June and the McCrory campaign is already hitting the panic button and attacking the polls,” Porter said in an email. “Governor McCrory has long been considered the nation's most vulnerable incumbent because he has failed middle class families — now it appears his campaign has officially entered desperation mode."