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.


PPP: McCrory’s Approval Down, Hagan’s Up

RALEIGH – After a month of national attention on your state, Public Policy Polling released a new poll showing Governor Pat McCrory’s approval rating among voters and the numbers are not favorable.

Fifty-one percent of North Carolinians disapprove of the job Gov. McCrory is doing, with 39 percent approving. In addition, 52 percent of respondents oppose the state’s recent budget, with 33 percent supporting its passage.

PPP director, Tom Jensen, says he believes the disapproval for the governor is coming more from a growing, general disdain than for anything specific like the budget.

“Probably less than the specifics of the budget, what these numbers reflect is that voters are just generally in a bad mood,” Jensen says.

Fifty percent of voters in the PPP poll say they believe that Gov. McCrory broke his promise to not sign any new abortion legislation and 57 percent also said the governor’s move to give cookies to pro-choice protesters who showed up at his home was inappropriate.

Jensen says that North Carolinians are reacting negatively to the passage of the abortion bill, but not necessarily because of objections to the bill’s contents.

“Voters are not, I think, necessarily reacting negatively so much to the actual content of the legislation. It’s really just not liking the process,” Jensen says.

PPP’s poll also found that the Moral Monday protests have a favorable opinion among voters, with 49 percent approving and 35 percent disapproving. Jensen says that the protesters were polling negatively when the rallies started, but the General Assembly’s bad image has pushed them forward.

“I think that’s just a reflection of the fact that voters are so unhappy with the General Assembly that they’re glad that somebody is going out there and speaking out against them and standing up to them,” Jensen says.

The General Assembly’s approval ratings continue to be low in the poll, as PPP found that 50 percent of respondents say they would vote Democratic if there was an election for the legislature now.

With both of the potential Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in the state, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger, coming from the legislature, Jensen says this could benefit incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, who has a 49-percent approval rating and a 48-percent disapproval rating.

“If I was the GOP, I’d be thinking about maybe trying to find a different candidate who’s not such an establishment politician,” Jensen says.

In PPP surveys this week, Hagan beats both Tillis and Berger by eight points.


PPP Polls on John Edwards, New York Times, More

RALEIGH – If you’ve ever wondered what your fellow North Carolinians think about John Edwards, the New York Times and judicial oversight, Public Policy Polling has you covered.

In its recent survey of North Carolina voters, PPP found that 67 percent of residents say they would never vote for former Senator John Edwards again. Sen. Edwards, who was once the Democratic party’s Vice Presidential candidate, received backlash after it was revealed that he had a lengthy affair while his wife had cancer.

Jim Williams, a polling analyst with PPP, explains why Sen. Edwards can do so poorly in North Carolina while other scandal-riddled politicians like former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner and former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer can continue their political life.

Williams says that not only do states like New York have a different moral tolerance than North Carolina, but Sen. Edwards himself was held in higher esteem in his home state.

“He was sort of representing North Carolina on a national stage before he had his fall from grace,” Williams says. “I think there’s a certain level of embarrassment among North Carolinians when it comes to John Edwards.”

On the subject of embarrassment, PPP also asked North Carolinians how you feel about the New York Times. While this was not included in the question, the New York Times’ editorial board ran a piece titled “The Decline of North Carolina” on July 9, criticizing the General Assembly.

Williams says that while the survey found an almost even split between people who favored, disfavored and had no opinion on the paper, he says the ideological split the poll found between Democrats who favored it and Republicans who disfavored it is likely no different anywhere else in the country.

“It has a reputation of being favored and enjoyed by liberals and dismissed and disliked by conservatives,” Williams says.

Support among North Carolinians for expanded background checks is at 78 percent. While incredibly high, the level of support for background checks in the state is actually lower than in previous polls, which Williams says is a result of issues dealing with gun control not being in the news lately.

“That’s just simply a function of time passing since a major gun tragedy, a major gun shooting somewhere in the United States,” Williams says. “But it’s still overwhelming support.”

Another issue that a majority of North Carolinians stand together on at 52 percent is the Supreme Court overturning Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, with majority displeasure across party lines. Williams says this support for the VRA comes from its storied history.

“People see it as a cornerstone of the Civil Rights movement and you’re not going to see too many people say they don’t agree with what the Civil Rights movement was trying to do,” Williams says.

Congress is currently taking up Section Five of the Voting Rights Act and seeing if it can be re-written to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, but Williams says that, with the level of discord in both the House and Senate, it’s unlikely that it will get passed any time soon.