Duke Beats Trump, But Trump May Still Beat Clinton

North Carolina continues to be a tight battleground state in the race for President – and the fact that the race is tightening nationwide only makes our state that much more important.

In the latest survey conducted by Public Policy Polling – this one commissioned by the National Employment Law Project – Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 45-44 in North Carolina. (This particular survey did not include Gary Johnson or Jill Stein as options.) Trump and Clinton each win 79 percent of the vote from members of their own party; Trump holds a 48-29 lead over Clinton among independents.

There are clear demographic gaps as well: Clinton leads Trump by 13 points among women (52-39), while Trump leads by 14 points among men (50-36); Trump has a huge lead among white voters, 59-29, but Clinton leads among African-Americans by an even more staggering margin of 90-1. (Clinton leads among Hispanic voters too, but by a narrower margin of 47-33.)

Nationwide, PPP’s August survey shows Clinton with a 5-point lead on Trump, 42-37 (with 6 percent for Johnson and 4 percent for Stein). The 5-point margin is unchanged from PPP’s July survey – but the number of undecided voters doubled in the space of a month, from 5 percent in July to 10 percent in August. That’s unusual for a presidential election: typically, the number of undecided voters declines as Election Day draws nearer.

More results from PPP’s August national survey here.

Why are there more undecided voters now? PPP director Tom Jensen says he thinks it’s because the two major candidates are extremely unpopular. (In fact, their already-low approval ratings are still in decline.) Clinton’s approval rating is only 41 percent (with a 52 percent disapproval rating) – but Trump is even more unpopular, with only 33 percent of voters approving of him and 60 percent disapproving.

(How unpopular is Donald Trump? PPP tested him head-to-head against other notably unpopular things and found he’s slightly more popular than junk mail, mosquitoes, and Ryan Lochte – but less popular than public restrooms, the middle seat on an airplane, and Duke University.)

Tom Jensen discussed the latest national numbers – as well as the NELP-commissioned North Carolina survey – on WCHL with Aaron Keck.


Other recent survey results:

  • PPP continues to find that Trump voters distrust the democratic process to a shocking degree: though there’s still no evidence of widespread voter fraud, 59 percent of Trump voters nationwide believe that about 10-25 percent of the votes that get counted are fraudulently cast. (And 67 percent of Trump voters believe that if Clinton is ultimately declared the winner this fall, it will only be because the election was rigged.)
  • In addition to the predictable demographic gaps, there’s also a gap between voters who’ve visited a public library this year (54-37 for Clinton) and voters who haven’t (53-39 for Trump).
  • 67 percent of voters believe Donald Trump should release his tax returns – but it’s not clear whether his refusal to do so will actually sway any of their votes.
  • What might sway voters is how the candidates stand on a minimum wage increase. In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Richard Burr narrowly leads Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, 46-43, in the race for US Senate. But 72 percent of North Carolinians support an increase in the federal minimum wage, 62 percent support increasing it to $15 per hour – and Ross actually takes a lead on Burr, 45-42, when voters are informed that Burr opposes a minimum wage increase. (Fair warning on that result, though: it’s from the survey that was commissioned by NELP, which favors a $15 minimum wage.)

Tom Jensen and Aaron Keck also discussed the results of PPP’s recent survey in Utah – which showed Trump with a sizable lead on Clinton, despite being unpopular among Mormon voters – as well as the state of the gubernatorial race in North Carolina, where recent polls show Roy Cooper with a lead on Pat McCrory.


PPP: Roy Cooper Leads Pat McCrory in Race for NC Governor

Democratic challenger Roy Cooper holds a slight lead over Pat McCrory in the race for North Carolina governor, according to an upcoming Public Policy Polling survey.  Tuesday afternoon, Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen revealed the new data to WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

Cooper leads McCrory by one point.  Cooper, the current North Carolina Attorney General, received 43 percent in the new survey.  Incumbent Governor McCrory received 42 percent.  Libertarian challenger Lon Cecil received 4 percent of responses.

The race for North Carolina governor has been close for months.  In a June Public Policy Polling survey, Cooper and McCrory were tied at 41 percent.

Listen to Jensen’s conversation with Aaron Keck on WCHL.


HB2 appears to be impacting McCrory.  Only 30 percent of North Carolina voters support the controversial law while 43 oppose it.  Forty-three percent of North Carolinians approve of McCrory’s job as governor while 47 percent disapprove.

In the race for one of North Carolina’s seats in the United States Senate, Republican incumbent Richard Burr holds a four point lead over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross.  In the poll, Burr receives 41 percent and Ross gets 37 percent.  Libertarian Sean Haugh is getting 5 percent.

Public Policy Polling released a survey Tuesday on how the presidential election is looking in North Carolina.  In that poll, Hillary Clinton holds a small lead over Donald Trump, 43 percent to 41 percent.  It is Clinton’s first lead in the state since March.

Jensen says, “It’s hard to imagine there’s any state in the country this year that is more closely divided as North Carolina.”

You can look through the full results from Public Policy Polling’s North Carolina survey.


Trump Got Post-RNC Bounce, But Will It Last?

Even in this wild, loopy, unprecedented election year, some things never change.

Historically, the week after every major party convention, the party’s presidential candidate gets a fairly sizable bump in the national polls. (No surprise – conventions are basically week-long infomercials for the party, and human beings are susceptible to good advertising.) That proved to be the case last week too: this year’s Republican National Convention was unconventional in many ways, but Donald Trump’s post-convention bounce (about 3-4 points, give or take) was right in line with past candidates in previous years.

Supporters of the opposing party got worried – also no change from previous years – but pollsters say not to worry: Hillary Clinton will probably get her own post-convention bounce when polls start to come in next week.

Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling released a survey of voters in Ohio – the host of the Republican convention, and an important swing state in its own right. (No Republican has ever won the presidential election without winning Ohio – and in fact, the last candidate of any party to lose Ohio and still get elected was John Kennedy, 56 years ago.) PPP’s post-RNC survey showed Trump with a narrow lead over Hillary Clinton, 42-39, a seven-point swing from June – but PPP director Tom Jensen says there’s a lot of good news for Clinton in the survey too.

For one thing, Jensen says, nearly one in five Ohio voters still haven’t made up their minds between the two major candidates. Nearly half of them say they’re supporting a third-party candidate (Gary Johnson polls 6 percent, Jill Stein polls 2 percent) – but the rest say they’d choose Clinton over Trump, by an 18-point margin, if they were forced to make a choice today.

Undecided voters also favor Barack Obama over Trump by a 30-point margin, Jensen says, so Clinton needs only to win over those voters who support the current administration. (That was clearly one of the primary goals of this week’s DNC.)

Tom Jensen spoke with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Thursday, a few hours before Hillary Clinton’s DNC address.


PPP’s Ohio survey also found that both Trump and Clinton have consolidated their respective bases: notwithstanding the “Bernie or Bust”-ers and the #NeverTrump-ers, 82 percent of Republicans say they’re voting for Trump and 84 percent of Democrats say they’re voting for Clinton. (The survey was conducted before the DNC, so that latter number may have risen: Jensen says parties typically unify around their nominee after conventions.)

Visit this link for more numbers from PPP’s Ohio survey. (PPP is currently conducting a post-DNC survey of Pennsylvania, where the Democrats held their convention.)


Election 2016: PPP Says Don’t Freak Out About Polls – Yet

It’s still too early to be sure how the Republican convention has affected the presidential race, but it’s probably safe to say Donald Trump will get a fairly significant bounce in the national polls. That’s what we typically see in the days immediately following a national party convention – and while the RNC had its chaotic moments, Trump himself gave a speech that was generally well-reviewed. (Relative, at least, to his usual efforts.)

But should this be a major concern for Democrats and #NeverTrumpers? Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen says no – at least, not yet.

Jensen says PPP is still finding the 2016 race shaping up much like the 2012 race, with Trump and Hillary Clinton polling about the same, from state to state, as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama did four years ago. Trump will get a post-convention bounce in the polls – he’ll likely take the lead in some surveys, if not all – but Clinton will almost certainly get a post-convention bounce of her own in a week.

And even though Election Day is rapidly approaching, Jensen says it’s still too early for the polls to be a reliable indicator of the final outcome. (Pre-RNC polls showed Clinton with about a four-point lead on Trump. That’s roughly the same lead Obama had on John McCain at the same stage in 2008, the same lead Obama had on Romney at the same stage in 2012 – and the same lead John Kerry had on George W. Bush at the same stage in 2004.)

Tom Jensen spoke last Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck, a few hours before Trump’s convention speech.


Jensen says one thing is pretty certain, though: North Carolina will be a pivotal swing state in the presidential race, possibly even the decisive state. (So expect a lot of candidate visits – and irritating campaign ads – in the months to come.)


PPP: Expect Clinton, Trump Wins In NY

In the race for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have won most of the latest primaries, but the momentum may be about to swing back to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – at least for the rest of this month.

That’s the word from Public Policy Polling, which just released numbers from its latest survey of voters in New York. (The New York presidential primary is Tuesday.)

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 11 points, 51-40. PPP director Tom Jensen says the Clinton/Sanders race has actually remained fairly consistent from the beginning: Clinton leads Sanders among African-American voters and registered Democrats; Sanders leads among independents and younger voters. Sanders has won most of the recent primaries primarily because they’ve been open primaries – where independents are able to vote – in states with small African-American populations. The New York primary is closed, though – open only to registered Democrats, that is – which favors Clinton. (Jensen says that’s also the case for most of the remaining primaries this month – so Clinton also stands to make gains next Tuesday, the 26th, when voters head to the polls in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island.)

Get the full results of PPP’s New York survey.

On the GOP side, Donald Trump stands to win big in New York: he’s pulling 51 percent of Republican voters, with John Kasich (25 percent) and Ted Cruz (20 percent) trailing way behind. Jensen says New York is a perfect storm for Trump for several reasons: it’s his home state, for one, and there’s no clear second-place candidate, making it more difficult for anti-Trump voters to consolidate around either Cruz or Kasich. Cruz is at a particular disadvantage too: his base consists of evangelical voters, and there aren’t many of those in New York – on top of which, New York Republicans were turned off by his disparaging remarks about Trump’s “New York values” earlier this year.

PPP director Tom Jensen discussed the New York primary – and the upcoming primaries later in April – with Aaron Keck on WCHL.


More numbers from PPP’s New York survey here.


PPP: NC Republicans (Not Just Trump Supporters) Highly Anti-Muslim

Just in case you haven’t heard, Donald Trump has been in the news a bit this week.

His most recent comments about Muslims – now he’s calling for the U.S. to ban all Muslims from entering the country (“temporarily,” at least) – have drawn criticisms, rebukes, denunciations and condemnations from political leaders in both parties.

But what do voters think?

A new survey from Public Policy Polling finds that a plurality of North Carolina Republicans agree with many of Trump’s ideas. 48 percent of GOP voters say Muslims should be required to register for a national database, with only 33 percent opposed. 42 percent believe Trump’s claim that “thousands of Arabs cheered” in Jersey City while witnessing the 9/11 attacks, while only 26 percent say they don’t believe that happened. And 35 percent of GOP voters say all the mosques in the U.S. should be shut down; only 33 percent say they’d oppose such a thing.

Get the full results here.

Those measures find their strongest support among Trump voters – 67 percent in favor of a national database, 51 percent in favor of shutting down mosques – but they’re getting support from non-Trump voters too. Among Ted Cruz voters, there’s more support than opposition for a national database (43-31) and a forced shutdown of mosques (41-28). Supporters of Marco Rubio and Ben Carson, the other two frontrunners in the GOP race, are less likely to support those measures – but even there, more than a third of Rubio and Carson supporters favor a national database and more than a quarter favor a mosque shutdown. (Rubio, Carson and Cruz have all voiced opposition to Trump’s most recent remarks – but with notably less fervor than some of the candidates who are polling lower.)

PPP director Tom Jensen says those numbers suggest that Trump won’t lose support by making inflammatory statements about Muslims – he may even gain support. “Trump’s Islamophobia is a central feature of his appeal,” says Jensen. (This survey was conducted before the latest firestorm, but a survey from Bloomberg indicates nearly two-thirds of GOP voters want to ban Muslims from entering the country. Even some Democrats – 18 percent – say they agree too.)

Jensen spoke Wednesday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


PPP’s poll also found that Trump still holds a sizable lead among North Carolina Republicans in the race for the GOP nomination, with 33 percent support against only 16 percent for second-place Ted Cruz and 14 percent each for Rubio and Carson. (Cruz is gaining, though – his support in North Carolina was only 6 percent in October.) Hillary Clinton is maintaining a big lead over Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. Most of the GOP contenders hold a slight edge over Clinton in a hypothetical general election.

The survey also found GOP incumbent Pat McCrory regaining a slight lead over Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, 44-42, in the race for governor. (Cooper had a slight lead in the October poll, but the two have been running within the margin of error in polls all year.) U.S. Senator Richard Burr holds 11-point leads over his likely Democratic challengers, but Jensen says that’s largely because those challengers (Deborah Ross, Kevin Griffin) are still fairly unknown. Burr himself is still fairly unpopular, with only a 33 percent approval rating, so he could be vulnerable in 2016 if there’s a strong Democratic challenger.


NC GOP Unpopular – But Are They In Danger?

Pat McCrory is unpopular and the North Carolina General Assembly is extremely unpopular – but it doesn’t look like there will be much of a shakeup in Raleigh when North Carolinians go to vote this November.

That’s the upshot of the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, released last week.

Read the report here.

Governor McCrory’s approval rating is only 39 percent and his disapproval rating is 45 percent – marking the 12th month in a row that McCrory has been in negative territory. PPP director Tom Jensen says that may be because voters see McCrory as a weak governor: only 27 percent believe he’s calling the shots in Raleigh, while 43 percent think the General Assembly is in control. (And voters don’t see that as a good thing: only 18 percent of North Carolinians approve of the job the NCGA is doing.)

But voters disapprove of Democrats in the NCGA as much as they disapprove of Republicans – so even though the NCGA is in Republican hands, there doesn’t appear to be a groundswell of support for Democrats yet. Republicans actually lead a generic legislative ballot 43-41, which Jensen says would give the GOP essentially the same majority for the next two years that it enjoys today. (That’s in spite of the fact that most of the policies being passed in the House and Senate are themselves unpopular as well.)

Tom Jensen joined Aaron Keck on the Tuesday afternoon news to discuss the poll.

As for the 2016 election, Jensen says to expect some close races: McCrory currently holds a 44-42 lead over attorney general Roy Cooper, the presumptive Democratic challenger (owing partly to Cooper’s low name recognition, Jensen says), while Hillary Clinton leads the most likely Republican candidates in the presidential race by equally narrow margins.


PPP Poll: NC Residents Approve of UNC, Despite Scandal Allegations

A recent Public Policy Poll shows that most North Carolinians hold a favorable view of UNC-Chapel Hill – and that most people don’t closely follow allegations of academic fraud involving athletes.

Director of ¬Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling Tom Jensen has perhaps some surprising findings for those of us living inside the UNC bubble:

“These poll results sort of indicate that most people aren’t actually following this very closely,” says Jensen. “You ask people what they think about Mary Willingham, who, of course, is so well-known to people who are really invested in this story. But statewide, almost 80 percent of people have never heard of her.”

To be exact: According to a recent PPP survey of 877 North Carolina voters, 77 percent of them are unsure of their opinion of the UNC whistleblower, while 12 percent have a favorable opinion and 11 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her.

Not only that, but 65 percent of North Carolina residents are unsure how to rate UNC Chancellor Carol Folt’s job performance. Otherwise, 18 percent approve and 17 percent disapprove.

Meanwhile, UNC retains high approval overall. Twenty-seven percent have a “very favorable” opinion, while 38 percent hold a “somewhat favorable” view.

Fifteen percent have a “somewhat unfavorable” opinion, while only seven percent feel “very unfavorable” and 13 percent are “not sure.”

“Certainly there are some people who have a lower opinion of it than they did before everything that’s happened over the last three years. “But it still remains overall, positive. And there’s a feeling, I think, that most of what’s happened at UNC is just emblematic of college athletics in general.”

In fact, the poll finds that only eight percent of respondents said that the recent controversy is something unique to UNC, while 70 percent said these kinds of things happen at every Division One program.

“Among NC State fans, 55 percent still see UNC favorably,” says Jensen. “Among Duke fans, 59 percent still see UNC favorably. Among Wake Forest fans, 73 percent still see UNC favorably.”

Do you catch that? Fifty-nine percent of Duke students still view UNC favorably.

The poll was conducted before former UNC basketball player Rashad McCants made recent allegations that he took “paper classes” at UNC, and had work completed for him by tutors, all with the knowledge and blessing of Coach Roy Williams.

But Jensen said he doubts that the new accusations would have made much difference.

“I don’t think that’s going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for anybody if they hadn’t gotten there already,” says Jensen.


PPP: Voters Want Higher Pay for Teachers, and Don’t Like NC Legislature

Now that the General Assembly is back in session, legislators may want to look at a new poll that shows just how much the issue of teacher pay matters to voters.

At this point in time, the North Carolina General Assembly has an approval rating that’s about the same as the United States Congress.

And, as you can probably guess, that’s not a good thing.

According to poll results released Wednesday by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, only 16 percent of North Carolina voters like the job the General Assembly is doing. Fifty-six percent disapprove.

“What those numbers reflect is that voters are still extremely unhappy about what happened in the long session last summer,” says Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen.

Jensen told WCHL that education cuts and teacher pay are at the top of the list of things that make survey respondents most angry.

By 54-to-36, voters said that teacher pay increases are more important than cutting taxes.

“The General Assembly is talking about doing a teacher pay increase, but it would be pretty small” says Jensen. “What we find is that North Carolinians would really like to see a substantive pay increase for teachers.

“Fifty percent of voters want at least a five percent increase; 59 percent want at least a four percent increase; and 76 percent want, at least, a three percent increase.”

He adds that the message for Democrats running for office this November is pretty clear.

“We asked people how they’d vote if there was a legislative election, today,” he says. “Forty-three percent said they’d vote Democratic. Forty-three percent said they’d vote Republican.

“If the state remains that evenly divided, Republicans are going to keep pretty strong control of the legislature. The teacher-pay issue is the kind of thing that Democrats may have to be able to use, to really pick up some seats this fall.”


NC Not As Southern As Some May Think

RALEIGH – During the past year, the new republican congress of North Carolina has proposed many bills that some claim are making North Carolina less progressive and taking steps backwards.  Public Policy Polling conducted a poll based around culture and found North Carolina is not as “deep south” or “redneck” as many people think.

PPP analyst Jim Williams says that some icons of the South are falling in popularity.

“We found that only 32 percent of North Carolinians consider themselves to be NASCAR fans,” ” Williams said.”Only 17 percent like tobacco, and only 14 percent say they like moonshine.”

Other staple icons still remain popular in the state though.  Williams sayas sweet tea had 63 percent of people saying they like it.  Although not as high as some would expect from a southern state, it is still popular.

And, Williams says that North Carolina based donuts, Krispy Kreme, continue to win over Dunkin Donuts in popularity.

“Absolutely, 74 percent said they like Krispy Kreme donuts,” Williams claims. “When we asked folks, what do they like better, Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme wins by 49 points, 67 to eighteen.”

To see the poll, click here.