Republicans Unite Around Trump, But Clinton Still Has Edge

Donald Trump won the GOP presidential nomination over the loud objections of more than a few leading Republicans. But as our collective attention turns to the general election, most Republicans appear to be falling in line behind the nominee – even if they’re gritting their teeth to do it.

A national survey this week from Public Policy Polling finds Hillary Clinton with a four-point edge on Trump, 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2 percent. (Johnson and Stein are actually pulling more votes from Clinton than Trump; take them away and Clinton’s lead would jump to six points.)

For all the talk about GOP disunity, though, Trump gets almost exactly as much support from Republicans as Clinton gets from Democrats. Clinton leads Trump 78-9 among Democrats, while Trump leads Clinton 78-7 among Republicans; 72 percent of Republicans say they’re comfortable with Trump as their party’s nominee, while 75 percent of Democrats say they’re comfortable with Clinton. (The number of Republicans and Democrats who say they’re uncomfortable with their party’s frontrunner? Exactly the same in both parties, 21 percent.)

Get more numbers from PPP’s presidential survey here.

Those numbers may be disappointing to Democrats who were hoping for a fractured GOP this fall – but PPP director Tom Jensen says there’s plenty of good news here for Democrats too. For one, the undecided voters in a Clinton/Trump matchup tend to be supporters of Bernie Sanders – Clinton/Trump undecideds favor Sanders over Trump by a 41-8 margin – so if Clinton does end up winning the nomination, she may be able to expand her lead in a big way merely by winning over Sanders’ supporters. (The Clinton/Sanders race has been contentious, but Jensen says he does expect the party to come together sooner or later. At this time in 2008, he says, nearly half of Clinton’s supporters were telling pollsters they wouldn’t vote for Obama that fall – far more than the number of Sanders supporters who say they won’t support Clinton now – but almost all those voters did wind up supporting Obama in the end.)

And while Clinton’s popularity ratings remain low, Jensen says Trump’s are even lower: only 34 percent of voters approve of him, against 61 percent who disapprove. (And Trump’s supporters still tend to be on the fringes when it comes to their political views: nearly two-thirds of them say they think Barack Obama is a Muslim, for instance, and nearly three-fifths say they still don’t believe he was born in the US.) To drive home the point, PPP tested Trump in head-to-head matchups with other despised things: voters prefer lice to Donald Trump by a 54-28 margin, root canals to Donald Trump by a 49-38 margin, used car salesmen to Donald Trump by a 47-41 margin, and the band Nickelback to Donald Trump by a 39-34 margin.

(Trump does win head-to-head battles with cockroaches and hemorrhoids, though. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.)

Tom Jensen spoke Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Jensen says even if the GOP does end up unifying around its nominee, Trump’s place at the top of the ballot may still haunt the party in the general election. Democrats lead Republicans 46-41 in a generic Congressional ballot – not enough of a lead for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives, but enough for Democrats to pick up several seats in both houses (and possibly retake the Senate). Voters also say (by a 45-26 margin) that they’d be less likely to vote for a candidate if that candidate endorses Trump for president.

Get more numbers on PPP’s Congressional survey here.

And the thought of Donald Trump in the White House is also making voters more likely to want the Senate to vote now on President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. Only 38 percent of voters say they trust Trump to make a Supreme Court nomination, against 53 percent who don’t; 58 percent of Americans say they want the vacant seat filled this year (up slightly from two months ago); and 50 percent of voters say they’d be less likely to vote for a Senator if that Senator blocked Merritt Garland’s confirmation hearings. (Only 18 percent say they’d be more likely to vote for such a candidate.)

Get more numbers on PPP’s Supreme Court survey here.

Poll: Nation On The Wrong Track

North Carolina voters aren’t happy with the direction the nation is headed.

The Civitas Institute is a conservative publication, which conducted a poll in late July. In the release of the poll last week, it stated 70 percent of registered North Carolina voters think the United States are on the wrong track compared to the 20 percent that thinks things are heading in the right direction.

In October 2012, the split was 55-40, with the majority still believing the nation wasn’t in the right place.

The number one issue voters said they were concerned about was the economy. In a close second was jobs and unemployment, followed by immigration, health care, and the current government.

Neither political party had the upper hand in the poll. When voters were asked which candidate they would vote for if the election for Congress was held on that date, 43 percent said the Republican and 43 percent said the Democrat.

And, when asked specifically how President Barack Obama is doing—almost at the midway point in his second term—53 percent disapprove while 45 percent approve.

To see a complete breakdown of the poll, click here.

Congressman David Price To Visit WCHL Studios Tuesday

Members of Congress are on a five-week recess, and your Representative, David Price, is taking some of his time to stop by the WCHL Studios and talk about the top issues being debated in Washington.

Congressman Price is a native of eastern Tennessee and made his way to Mars Hill College and UNC, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He also studied at Yale University where he received a Bachelor of Divinity as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science. Congressman Price spent additional time in the classroom as a professor at Duke University in 1987 teaching Political Science and Public Policy.

Now Congressman Price serves North Carolina’s Fourth District and is on the House Appropriations Committee. He serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Congressman Price recently announced that North Carolina will receive an added $1.1 million in grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security, compared to last year. That work was done through the Appropriations Committee. He and Wisconsin representative Tom Petri, a Republican, announced a bipartisan NCAA financial transparency bill in the heat of heavy intercollegiate athletics discussions.

Congressman Price will also weigh in on foreign affairs as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues as well as the United States’ recent air strikes on Iraq.

Tune in to the WCHL Afternoon News with Aaron Keck Tuesday when Congressman Price will sit down with Aaron for the entire 4:00 hour to discuss timely topics of local, national, and international importance.

Cong. Price Co-Sponsors NCAA Transparency Bill

WASHINGTON — Two congressmen have introduced a bill to require the NCAA, schools, conferences as well as the College Football Playoff to reveal how much money is flowing through college sports.

David Price

David Price

The Standardization of Collegiate Oversight of Revenues and Expenditures (SCORE) Act would require the NCAA to make public a standardized financial report for itself and release similar information for schools that already report the data to the NCAA. It also would affect conferences and any entity hosting a postseason competition.

U.S. Rep. David Price, a North Carolina Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican, introduced the bill. In a statement Tuesday, Price said it would allow “for the first apples-to-apples comparison” of revenues and spending throughout college sports.

WCHL’s Aaron Keck spoke with Congressman Price Tuesday about the bill.

***Listen to the Interview***

Price: On VA Scandal, A Long Way Yet To Go

Last Friday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki tendered his resignation amidst a growing scandal involving long wait times—and cover-ups of those wait times—at VA hospitals nationwide.

But will Shinseki’s resignation actually accomplish anything? How adequate is our government’s commitment to our veterans? How high is the quality of treatment in the VA system in general? And what are the next steps, to address what appears to be a widespread problem?

Congressman David Price (D-Chapel Hill) joined Aaron Keck on the Afternoon News this week to discuss the issue.

David Price is a member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. Immediately following Shinseki’s resignation, he issued the following statement:

I remain deeply troubled by the irresponsible and unacceptable scheduling practices uncovered by the VA Inspector General’s preliminary report. I respect Secretary Shinseki’s decision to resign and hope it will allow Congress to act on the IG’s complete report, without delay or distraction, to fix the problems and hold those responsible accountable.

I expect the VA’s review to be proactive, not reactive. The VA needs to look at all of its processes, from top to bottom, from the time veterans walk in the door until their treatment is complete, to ensure they are receiving timely, quality care. Obsolete systems and processes need to be identified and replaced, and personnel levels must be commensurate with the needs of our nation’s veteran population. I will work to ensure my subcommittee is a partner in overseeing and funding the effort to meet the needs of a 21st century VA. Anything less would be a disservice to veterans and to the many exemplary VA employees who care for those who have served our country.

Congress Bumps Willingham

Former UNC learning specialist Mary Willingham will not be testifying this week before Congress after all.

Willingham was scheduled to appear before a Senate committee on Wednesday in a hearing entitled “Promoting the Wellbeing and Academic Success of College Athletes.” But the N&O reported that on Friday, Willingham was told she wouldn’t be on the final roster of witnesses. (It’s not unusual for scheduled witnesses to be left off the final roster.)

Last week, Willingham confirmed that she had resigned from UNC after a semester of controversy that began in January, when she told CNN that her study of nearly 200 UNC student-athletes revealed that many of them couldn’t read beyond an eighth-grade level. Independent experts hired by UNC to review her study sharply criticized her methodology, but the discussion is still ongoing.

The congressional hearing will take place before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Among the other scheduled witnesses is former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon, who’s currently suing the NCAA for not allowing student-athletes to share in the profit from the use of their names and images.

House GOP Conservatives Help Propel Budget Bill

WASHINGTON — A sweeping vote by conservative Republicans controlling the House and President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies has sent a bipartisan budget agreement to the Senate, where it will encounter stronger but probably futile resistance from the GOP.

The modest package passed by the House would ease the harshest effects of another round of automatic spending cuts set to hit the Pentagon and domestic agencies next month. Supporters of the measure easily beat back attacks on it from conservative organizations that sometimes raise money by stoking conflict within the Republican Party.

Democrats who were upset that the bill does not extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed suppressed their doubts to advance the measure to the Democratic-led Senate, where Obama’s supporters appear set to clear it next week for his signature.

House Republicans Get Behind Budget Agreement

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are rallying behind a modest budget pact that promises to bring a temporary halt to budget brinkmanship in Washington and ease automatic budget cuts that would otherwise slam the Pentagon and domestic agencies for a second straight year.

President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats also are praising the measure negotiated with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who has morphed, however briefly, from an uncompromising small-government stalwart into a dealmaker eager to claim a partial victory on the budget.

The deal Ryan negotiated with Senate Democratic counterpart Patty Murray would preserve the bulk of tough agency spending cuts the GOP won in a 2011 showdown with Obama, while reducing the chances of a rerun of the partial government shutdown.

It’s set for a vote Thursday.

GOP, Obama Line Up Behind Modest Budget Deal

WASHINGTON — Top Republicans and President Barack Obama are lining up behind a modest but hard-won bipartisan budget agreement that seeks to replace a portion of tough spending cuts facing the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The deal to ease those cuts for two years is aimed less at chipping away at the nation’s $17 trillion national debt than it is at trying to help a dysfunctional Capitol stop lurching from crisis to crisis.

It would set the stage for action in January on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the current budget year.

The measure unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate counterpart Patty Murray of Washington blends $85 billion in spending cuts and fees to replace $63 billion in cuts to agency budgets over the coming two years.

AP-GfK Poll: Low Approval Of Congress, Obama

WASHINGTON — A new poll finds Americans hold Congress in strikingly low regard as a midterm election year nears. Nearly two-thirds say they would like to see their House member replaced.

The Associated Press-GfK poll finds that elected officials in Washington are not benefiting from the public’s slightly improved view of the economy and their own personal finances.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is negative: 58 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing, while 42 percent approve.

The low opinions of Congress don’t necessarily signal major power shifts next year in the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate. Many House districts are safe enough to protect incumbents despite public discontent.

Most Americans favor a pathway to legal status for immigrants living here illegally. The House has not approved such a measure.