Chapelboro.com » News http://chapelboro.com/category/news/ More of what you live here for Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:04:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 More of what you live here for Chapelboro.com no More of what you live here for Chapelboro.com » News http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://chapelboro.com/category/news/ NC State Study Says Chatham Park Could Bring In Billions http://chapelboro.com/news/development/nc-state-study-says-chatham-park-bring-billions/ http://chapelboro.com/news/development/nc-state-study-says-chatham-park-bring-billions/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:31:20 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128540 The study suggests it will create more than 61,000 permanent jobs in Chatham County, 99,000 permanent jobs in the Triangle and 115,000 in North Carolina.

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A new economic impact study shows the planned Chatham Park development would generate roughly $80 billion dollars for Chatham County over the next four decades, approximately $140 billion for the Triangle region, and more than $154 billion statewide.

The study was conducted by NC State economist Dr. Michael Walden and commissioned by the Chatham Economic Development Corporation.

Chatham Park is a 7,000 acre mixed-use development planned to be built in phases between Pittsboro and Jordan Lake.

Walden’s study suggests it will generate more than 61,000 permanent jobs in Chatham County, 99,000 permanent jobs in the Triangle region and 115,000 in North Carolina.

Pittsboro leaders approved the plan last June after months of heated debate. The first project, a UNC Health care medical office, broke ground in December.

But the project has angered some Chatham residents. A citizen group called Pittsboro Matters filed a lawsuit challenging the way the town approved rezoning for the project.

You can read more about the lawsuit here.

Members say they want to sit down with developers and the Town Board to re-write the Chatham Park master plan to include more stringent environmental protection measures.

With 22 million square feet of commercial, office, and civic space as well as 22,000 residential units, Chatham Park will be one of the largest master-planned communities in the country once it’s fully developed.

You can read the full study here.

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Orange County Confirms Second Rabies Case of 2015 http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/orange-county-confrims-second-rabies-case-2015/ http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/orange-county-confrims-second-rabies-case-2015/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:39:48 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128494 Orange County is reporting its second rabies confirmation of 2015. This incident involved a raccoon, the primary carrier of rabies in our region. This follows 23 confirmed cases in 2014, nearly double the twelve confirmed cases in both 2012 and 2013. Orange County Animal Services Director, Bob Marotto, says there is no exact science to […]

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Orange County is reporting its second rabies confirmation of 2015. This incident involved a raccoon, the primary carrier of rabies in our region.

This follows 23 confirmed cases in 2014, nearly double the twelve confirmed cases in both 2012 and 2013.

Orange County Animal Services Director, Bob Marotto, says there is no exact science to predicting how many cases a given area may see each year, but there are data points that reveal certain trends.

“The historical data that we have indicates that there is a cycling in these numbers,” he says. “We saw, in 2014, the beginning of an upswing.”

He says these trends typically run in one-to-three-year cycles.

Marotto adds that means residents need to be prepared in the future.

“There is rabies here,” he says. “It probably will never go away in our lifetime. Therefore, we need to be prepared individually, as households, as pet owners, and as a community.”

Staying current with the law is the best way to help protect you and your animals from rabies. North Carolina law states that all cats and dogs over four months must be current with their rabies vaccine at all times. And the Orange County ordinance calls for pets to wear a rabies vaccination tag.

If your vaccinated pet has an encounter with a rabid animal, they are required to receive a rabies booster shot within five days or they will be treated as an unvaccinated animal. In the case of an unvaccinated pet, the choice is between euthanasia and having the animal quarantined for up to 6 months.

Marotto says the best thing is to make sure your pet is vaccinated, and you can do that through Orange County Animal Service’s low-cost vaccination clinics.

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Town Council Postpones Vote on Chapel Hill’s Edge http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/town-council-postpones-special-use-permit-chapel-hills-edge/ http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/town-council-postpones-special-use-permit-chapel-hills-edge/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:35:04 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128489 Bell and other council members said they welcome the opportunity for economic development, but in this project called The Edge, the applicant has too many requests that would affect the way the project moves forward. So the town is delaying granting a special use permit to Northwood Ravin, the developer.

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At Monday night’s public hearing, the Chapel Hill Town Council postponed approving the 55-acre mixed-use development proposed for Eubanks Road.

Council member Donna Bell imagined visiting an unpleasant development in the future. She said, “I would hate to go by in ten years and go ‘ohhh, I approved that?’”

Bell and other council members said they welcome the opportunity for economic development, but in this project called The Edge, the applicant has too many requests that would affect the way the project moves forward. So the town is delaying granting a special use permit to Northwood Ravin, the developer, while officials consider the requests.

Northwood Raven is asking the town to pay $1 million to $1.5 million for improvements to Eubanks Road. And the developer wants permission to build on a space the town has designated for environmental protection.

“Perhaps the biggest way to remove one of the warts on this site, which is visibility, is building a section of the RCD,” said Adam Golden, vice president of development for Northwood Ravin.

Golden is talking about the protected area, a “resource conservation district” or RCD. He said if the town grants permission to expand onto the five acres of RCD where there’s an intermittent steam, Northwood Ravin would build more retail.

“I don’t think we’ve had an RCD question like this,” said Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. “I mean excuse me. I need to take a deep breath. I’ve never seen that before.”

At a public hearing in December, council members pressed the developer, Northwood Ravin, to increase the amount of commercial space in the proposed development. This became one of the sticking points again in Monday night’s discussion about the development.

Golden presented two possible scenarios to the council. In scenario one, the developer would build 270 thousand square feet of commercial space including a hotel, 78,000 square feet of office space and 510 residential units. In scenario two, the developer would build 200 thousand spare feet of commercial space including a hotel, 78,000 square feet of office space and 600 residential units.

The council will hold another public hearing on February 23, when it will reopen the topic of granting Northwood Ravin a special use permit. A development agreement comes later in this process.

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UNC Facing High Number of Legal Challenges http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/unc-facing-high-number-legal-challenges/ http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/unc-facing-high-number-legal-challenges/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:35:18 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128335 UNC is currently facing several legal challenges, including a class-action lawsuit from two former student-athletes filed last week. To handle the breadth of the lawsuits, UNC has retained the services of New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, according to UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. “We have many different challenges, and a lot of them […]

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UNC is currently facing several legal challenges, including a class-action lawsuit from two former student-athletes filed last week.

To handle the breadth of the lawsuits, UNC has retained the services of New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, according to UNC Chancellor Carol Folt.

“We have many different challenges, and a lot of them will play out at different levels,” she says. “Some will be local. Some will go all the way to the national level.”

Folts adds this is a high influx of cases to handle at one time.

“It is true that every university has a constant flow of legal actions,” she says. “We are at a new level, at another level, an unusual level, maybe the greatest level.”

Chancellor Folt also says they typically work with local firms but do need to reach beyond those resources at times.

“Some times the expertise may come from another firm,” she says. “This particular integration will also include local firms. It’s that synthesis that we’re using; that I think will really help us.”

The chancellor also says they are wading through an influx of public records.

“Our whole enterprise, legally, has really grown here,” she says. “We’re using it as an opportunity to get the assistance that we need, and then think about how to restructure our office so that it can be nimble and flexible.”

Chancellor Folt adds they would rather contract out during these heavy times, because – hopefully – this staff will not typically be necessary.

“We don’t want to buy a 50 person legal team, because I hope we don’t need that for the rest of our time here,” she says. “So you need those experts.”

Meanwhile, UNC is also searching for a replacement for their general counsel.

Most recently, Rashanda McCants – former UNC women’s basketball player – and Devon Ramsay – former UNC football player – filed a lawsuit against UNC and the NCAA, alleging they didn’t receive a proper college education during their time in Chapel Hill. This lawsuit is one of the many ripple effects following the Wainstein report that found UNC was offering classes with little or no faculty involvement where, typically, high grades were handed out for minimal work.

Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham says he has not had an opportunity to asses that suit.

“I became aware of it when it was filed, but [I] have not had a chance to read it yet,” he says. “And I haven’t been a part of conversations on campus about its implication yet.”

Former football player Michael McAdoo has also filed a class-action lawsuit directed only at the university.

The university is also listed, along with Harvard University, in a complaint that was filed in November. That suit calls for race-neutral admission processes at all universities, after alleging the schools cap the number of Asian students that they will admit.

There is also the ongoing lawsuit regarding Mary Willingham and the effort to settle her workplace harassment claim.

And in August, a female student filed a complaint alleging the university mishandled her sexual assault case.

The law firm hired by UNC will be paid $990 per hour of service from partners and associate fees will range from $450 to $975 per hour. That payment was approved by the governor and state attorney general.

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Applications Up Again at UNC http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/applications-unc/ http://chapelboro.com/news/higher-education/applications-unc/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:07:19 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128313 Applications for admission to UNC are up again. UNC is announcing a record for first-year applications, marking ten years in a row that a new record has been set. Overall applications are up two percent over last year and 37 percent over five years ago: applications from low-income households are also up two percent. Some […]

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Applications for admission to UNC are up again.

UNC is announcing a record for first-year applications, marking ten years in a row that a new record has been set. Overall applications are up two percent over last year and 37 percent over five years ago: applications from low-income households are also up two percent.

Some had thought the low-income number may go down after the UNC Board of Governors unanimously approved a budget item in August that capped need-based financial aid at 15 percent. UNC is currently above that threshold and, therefore, must freeze the amount they are putting toward financial aid.

Chancellor Carol Folt says the administration will do everything possible to continue meeting student’s full needs.

“We have different ways that we cover that,” she says. “I think one of our greatest assets is that we have been able to keep costs low. The average debt of students at Carolina hasn’t changed in more than 15 years.”

Chancellor Folt adds the Carolina Covenant is a big part of meeting that need.

“We are aggressively growing that. We are celebrating 10 years [of the Carolina Covenant formation],” she says. “We’re putting in what, I believe, is necessary to make sure that we meet the need.”

According to UNC, Covenant Scholars comprised 13 percent of the enrolling classes for the past two years.

The chancellor says it is important to continue offering a top-quality education at a great value and remain accessible.

“I think our best value in the country comes from that commitment to continue bringing in students that are capable [and] able,” she says. “And make the financial barrier not the one that would keep them away.”

As of January 20, nearly 32,000 applications for enrollment were submitted to UNC from 99 counties in North Carolina, all 50 states – plus the District of Columbia – and 113 countries outside the US.

Students who applied in October will receive their decisions by the end of January. Students who applied in January will receive their decisions by the end of March.

Officials say the university expects to enroll a first-year class of 4,000.

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Civitas: ‘Shadowy Network’ of N.C. Liberals Unveiled With ‘Mapping the Left’ http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/civitas-shadowy-network-n-c-liberals-unveiled-mapping-left/ http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/civitas-shadowy-network-n-c-liberals-unveiled-mapping-left/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 06:45:32 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128302 A conservative think tank, co-founded by chain-store billionaire and former N.C. Budget Director Art Pope, put up a new website last week called Mapping the Left.

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A conservative think tank, co-founded by chain-store billionaire and former State Budget Director Art Pope, put up a new website last week called Mapping the Left.

The stated aim of the site is to shed light on a “vast, shadowy network” of “the radical liberal left in North Carolina.”

Brian Thornburg is a media technician at the Friday Center. He said he’s disappointed that he apparently didn’t rate a mention on the Mapping the Left website created by the Civitas Institute.

So he, along with many others, signed a change.org petition, to request being added. Is he Spartacus?

“You know what?” he said with a laugh. “I am Spartacus.”

In the spirit of that petition, which appeared soon after the Mapping the Left website went up on Jan. 22, Thornburg said he thinks that humor is the best response.

“I think a lot of people are looking at it as a point of pride that they are recognized in this particular website,” said Thornburg. “If you are seen there, then you must be doing something right.”

Persons and organizations who do rate being mapped for their supposed shadowy left-wing activities include retired UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, for his support of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty; and the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Monika Johnson-Hostler is executive director of the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She first heard from WCHL about the organization’s inclusion on the website.

When informed that it seems to be based on funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, as well as a connection to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Johnson-Hostler said that there’s nothing “shadowy” about that, nor is there anything “shadowy” about the NCCASA’s recent set of initiatives.

“It includes things like looking at sex-offender management,” said Johnson-Hostler. “We supported the Anti Human Trafficking Commission and the Safe Harbor Bill last year, which of course, had huge bipartisan support.”

North Carolina’s Safe Harbor/Victims of Human Trafficking bill of 2013 was co- sponsored by Republican Senators Thom Goolsby and Tamara Barringer, and Democratic Sen. Ellie Kinnaird of Orange County. It passed unanimously in both chambers and was signed into law that year by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s chart on the Mapping the Left website shows the organization connected to around 70 others. The foundation’s former executive director, Tom Ross, came under attack in a Civitas Review Online post titled “Tom Ross Revealed: An Agent of Far-Left Change.”

Citing an interview Ross gave to the Triad Business Journal in 2002, the Civitas article criticizes Ross for “backing progressive public policy,” while also questioning his job as UNC System president.

Ross was recently forced out of that job by the UNC Board of Governors, with scant explanation. The BoG’s chairman, John Fennebresque, has insisted the decision was not political.

Susan Myrick, an elections policy analyst for the Civitas Institute, insists that the timing of the Mapping the Left website has no connection to Ross’s recent ouster.

“Oh my, no,” she said. “This work on this website has been going on for several years now.”

She said the site is meant to educate the public about the vast left-wing network in North Carolina, thus disproving, she said, any notion that there is some kind of right-wing conspiracy in the state.

“We knew all along that there was a really large left-wing network of organizations,” said Myrick. “And over the years, we saw it grow and grow. And then we started watching it work together so well.”

WCHL asked Myrick how Dean Smith and the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault figure in this alleged network. Myrick had this to say:

“It is interesting to find these organizations that you think have the righteous mission, such as the Coalition Against Sexual Assault, or the Coalition Against Domestic Violence,” said Myrick. “You find out that they are political in nature.”

Leslie Winner, the current executive director of Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, said her organization is proud to invest in strong public schools; building local communities and economies; and making it easy for citizens to vote.

“I think that Civitas has an odd definition of the left,” said Winner. “Included in the Z. Smith Reynolds list of left-wing funding was a grant to the Triangle Community Foundation for a Disaster Relief Guide for North Carolina.

“I never knew that disaster relief was a lefty cause.”

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Obey Creek Special Meeting Focuses on Traffic Patterns http://chapelboro.com/news/development/obey-creek-special-meeting-focuses-traffic-patterns/ http://chapelboro.com/news/development/obey-creek-special-meeting-focuses-traffic-patterns/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 02:26:00 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128296 Much of Friday afternoon’s special meeting of the Chapel Hill Town Council was taken up with discussion of changing traffic patterns on 15-501, if the town were to approve the Obey Creek development.

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Much of Friday afternoon’s special meeting of the Chapel Hill Town Council was taken up with discussion of changing traffic patterns on 15-501, if the town were to approve the Obey Creek development.

The Council held two days of meetings late last week to discuss the Southern Village Park-and-Ride lot area, and connections between the proposed 35-acre mixed-use development and southern Chapel Hill.

The town has hired the planning firm of Dover, Kohl & Partners to develop possible scenarios, and consultant Victor Dover led Friday afternoon’s discussion.

Dover proposed a modern roundabout at Dogwood Acres Drive, where rapid-transit buses could easily change direction.

Council member Ed Harrison expressed concern about that idea, citing unsuccessful attempts at multi-lane roundabouts in North Carolina. Dover said there’s proof it can be done right.

“There is a successful one in Davidson, now, that you might want to look at,” said Dover. “It’s easy to Google. You can see it on the aerial and satellite photograph quite vividly.”

Another Council member, Jim Ward, pushed to get and an answer about DOT approval for another idea, a signalized intersection at Sumac Road. The roundabout would require DOT approval, too.

“To me, the bottom line is, that needs to work, fully” said Ward. “That’s a decision, I feel like, we need to know early in the game.”

The next Obey Creek Special Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12.

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700,000 Minutes Of Reading? That’s The Goal At Northside Read-A-Thon http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/700000-minutes-reading-thats-goal-northside-read-thon/ http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/700000-minutes-reading-thats-goal-northside-read-thon/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 00:03:30 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128280 For this year's Read-A-Thon, Northside Elementary students will each try to read 100 minutes a day for 10 days.

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Northside Elementary School is holding its second annual Read-a-Thon.

This year’s theme is “Reading is Magical.” The Read-a-Thon is a weeklong event – it began with a kickoff event last Thursday – with two goals: to encourage kids to read and to raise money for the Northside PTA. (In keeping with the theme, school officials transformed the library into King’s Cross Station from the Harry Potter books – complete with handmade magic wands.)

Principal Cheryl Carnahan has challenged the students to read a combined total of 700,000 minutes. Each individual student has a goal of 1,000 minutes – that’s about an hour and a half of reading per day for the 10-day Read-a-Thon.

Carnahan and PTA member Claudia Fernandez spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck last week.

 

If the school meets the combined goal, Principal Carnahan will also perform a challenge suggested by the students. (Suggestions so far include swinging from the rafters and kissing a snake or a pig.)

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Insko, Meyer Preview Upcoming NCGA Session in Raleigh http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/insko-meyer-preview-upcoming-ncga-session-raleigh/ http://chapelboro.com/news/state-news/insko-meyer-preview-upcoming-ncga-session-raleigh/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:54:51 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128274 Two state legislators from Orange County spoke to WCHL recently about what to expect from the upcoming session of the General Assembly, which resumes Wednesday.

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Two state legislators from Orange County spoke to WCHL recently about what to expect from the upcoming session of the General Assembly, which resumes Wednesday.

“In the big picture, we’re going to see more of the same,” said Rep. Graig Meyer, a Democrat from District 50. “We know that there’s not going to be a significant change in the direction if the legislature, because there wasn’t a significant change in the makeup of the legislature.”

Meyer said that, with veteran leadership and established priorities, the Senate has the upper hand right now.

He said he can’t exactly predict which agenda item the Republican leadership will push first.

“In the bigger picture, the beginning of the legislative session is going to be all about revenues,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about things that they want to spend money on, but after year’s budget closed out, we knew pretty quickly that we’d be in a hole, coming into this year’s budget.”

And it’s a whopping amount.

“We’re already $200 million in the hole,” said Meyer. “And the question will be: Do we have to figure out a way ti close that? Or are we going to continue to reduce tax burdens? Certainly, the stated goal of the Senate had been, to eliminate the personal income tax. And there’s not really a clear plan on how to make up for that revenue, to be able to spend on things like teacher pay raises.”

Meyer said the only idea he’s heard from Republicans is to raise the sales tax – in which case, he added, the numbers “don’t add up.”

He told WCHL that some pragmatic Republicans, particularly in the House, are interested in economic development incentives, and maintaining obligations to public schools.

However, he said, they face opposition from within their own party, especially in the Senate.

Meyer said he’s spent a lot of time between sessions building relationships with republican colleagues, in search of positive bipartisan education policies in this session.

He said he’s interested in revising the state’s “report card” system for grading public schools.

“I don’t like that system the way it is,” he said, “because it’s just going to come across as punitive to schools that have a lot of difficult kids.”

Another Orange County Democrat, Rep. Verla Insko of District 56, said she’ll file a bill to expand Medicaid in the state when she returns to Raleigh on Wednesday.

“I expected that they would pass it in 2015,” said Insko. “And then I heard both Sen. Berger and Speaker Moore say that they weren’t going to expand it.”

She added that, realistically, she doesn’t expect the Republican leadership to move her Medicaid bill. But she said she has reason to feel optimistic that there’s a real movement toward expansion.

State legislators will have some company at on Jones Street on Wednesday.

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber said that protesters of the Forward Together movement will be there as well.

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2016 Watch: Clinton Up Big, GOP Divided, Senate Race Close In PA http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2016-watch-clinton-big-gop-divided-senate-race-close-pa/ http://chapelboro.com/news/election/2016-watch-clinton-big-gop-divided-senate-race-close-pa/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:36:38 +0000 http://chapelboro.com/?p=128273 Early 2016 election numbers suggest Hillary Clinton is in good shape, but the U.S. Senate is still undecided.

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A pair of surveys released last week by Public Policy Polling suggest that when it comes to the 2016 election, the state of Pennsylvania is not far removed from North Carolina.

Just like in North Carolina, Pennsylvania’s 2016 Senate race will feature a Republican incumbent (Pat Toomey) with low approval ratings (28%) and little name recognition (37% of voters have no opinion of him at all), running against one of a number of even-lesser-known Democratic challengers. As with North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Toomey’s support is weak but his potential opponents aren’t particularly strong, so he’s starting out the 2016 cycle with slight leads over most of his would-be challengers.

Read the results of PPP’s Pennsylvania Senate poll.

Meanwhile in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton continues to lead by a wide margin in the contest for the Democratic nomination, but the Republican field is still muddy: Ben Carson (18%), Jeb Bush (14%) and Mitt Romney (14%) are the only candidates polling in double digits, while New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s support (9%) has dropped precipitously and Pennsylvania native Rick Santorum (6%) enjoys little support at all from his own home state. (As for the general election, Clinton currently leads all her potential GOP opponents by wide margins. The polls are much closer in North Carolina, but the Pennsylvania numbers are still a good early sign for Democrats: Pennsylvania was an important swing state in 2000 and 2004, but since then it’s turned increasingly blue. A good year for Democrats at the top of the ticket could also have residual effects in other races further down the ballot – close races for Senate seats, for instance.)

Read the results of PPP’s Pennsylvania presidential poll.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with PPP director Tom Jensen about the Pennsylvania numbers and what they might suggest about North Carolina.

 

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