State Politics

McCrory closes gap against Cooper in new poll

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has closed a significant gap between himself and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper in a Monmouth University Poll released Monday.

While the latest polling from Monmouth shows McCrory with a mere 1-point lead, two months ago the incumbent Republican governor was 9 points behind in that poll.

In that time, there have been two televised debates, a hurricane and continued controversy over House Bill 2. McCrory has held almost daily news briefings around the state since Hurricane Matthew and ensuing flooding hit in late September, including right up to Monday.

The Monmouth poll puts McCrory ahead 48 percent to 47 percent. Those surveyed gave McCrory improved job performance numbers: 49 percent approval to 45 percent disapproval.

Personal rating of the governor is 43 percent favorable and 42 percent unfavorable. Cooper’s net positive personal rating is 40 percent favorable and 26 percent unfavorable.

“HB2 seems to be the contest’s driving factor during the summer, but the devastation left by Hurricane Matthew may be a more immediate concern for many voters,” said Patrick Murray, poll director, in a statement.

Monmouth University, located in New Jersey, conducted the survey by phone from Thursday through Sunday, with 402 likely voters. The margin of effort is 4.9 percent.

Over the weekend, The Washington Post’s The Fix blog moved the North Carolina gubernatorial race from leans-Democrat to tossup. The Cook Political Report now calls the governor’s race here a tossup with a slight edge for Cooper. ABC News also calls it a tossup.

For the most part, both candidates have been within striking distance of each other all year, tied up within the margin of error, according to a compilation by Real Clear Politics.

Other Monmouth results:

▪ U.S. Sen. Richard Burr increased his lead over Deborah Ross, with the race now at 49 percent to 43 percent.

▪ Hillary Clinton has a statistically insignificant 1-point lead over Donald Trump.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO