CHAPEL HILL- North Carolinians continue to be widely displeased with the General Assembly, but those numbers could be changing, according to Public Policy Polling’s Jim Williams.
“State government, as a whole, is not viewed very well by North Carolinians,” says Williams. “Just 39 percent of voters say GOP control of government has been a good thing, compared to 50 percent who say it’s a bad thing.”
Williams says while Governor Pat McCrory’s popularity rating has risen by two points since September, only 39 percent of those polled approve of his leadership.
Though the majority of voters polled view Republicans negatively, the numbers have shifted slightly in their favor since the end of the legislative session. Democrats, who led on a generic ballot by a nine point margin in July, now lead by only two points.
Public Policy Polling also asked respondents how the court system should deal with those arrested during the Moral Monday protests. Williams says most feel the charges should be dropped.
“Fifty-one percent of voters think that those charges against the protesters should be dropped, compared to just 33 percent who think that they should be prosecuted,” says Williams. “That includes the majority of Democrats and independents, and even 29 percent of Republicans voters think those charges should be dropped.”
The survey polled 701 registered voters throughout North Carolina. You can find a link to the full results here.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/ppp-most-voters-still-unhappy-with-nc-gop/
CHAPEL HILL – A new poll shows that voters in six Senate races, including North Carolina, are unhappy about the government shutdown. Republicans trail in five of the six key races that will likely determine which party controls the Senate, according to Public Policy Polling in Raleigh.
Tom Jensen, Director of PPP, explains that Republicans need to win six seats to claim a majority.
“North Carolina was one of the states where we found voters particularly unhappy about the shutdown,” Jensen says. “Only 29 percent of voters in the State supported it, 63 percent opposed.”
The numbers show that voters “strongly opposed” the shutdown in each state polled, even though most voted for Mitt Romney last year. Jensen says this may make it harder for Republicans to win back the Senate in next year’s election.
“In a lot of these races, we are seeing Democrats in better shape than they were before, or at the very least, we are seeing that Republicans are sort of making it hard for themselves to dig out of a hole that they were already in because voters are so unhappy with them about the shutdown,” Jensen says.
In North Carolina, Kay Hagan leads a generic Republican challenger by five percent. Sixty-three percent of voters oppose the government shutdown, compared to 29 percent who support it. Jensen says is a significant margin given that North Carolinians are divided over politics with in the state.
Jensen adds that many North Carolinians will likely have favorable opinions of State delegates who voted to end the partial government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit.
Hagan, Senator Richard Burr (Rep.) and Representative David Price (Dem- NC 4th District) were among those who voted to end the shutdown.
PPP also collected data from Georgia, Michigan, Iowa, Louisiana, and Arkansas for this poll.
To see the full results of the poll, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/shutdown-hurting-gop-in-key-senate-battleground-states/
CHAPEL HILL – A new poll shows that the North Carolina Democrats have gained ground in eight Senate districts, due in part to the General Assembly’s current unpopularity with many voters.
Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling says that a Democrat challenger in Senate District 9, which covers New Hanover County, and District 19, which covers Cumberland County, would have a “clear advantage” over the Republican incumbents.
“What we have been finding with our state-wide polling is that people are very unhappy with the Legislature, and that in general, they are planning to vote Democratic next year, but what we wanted to do was see how this is actually playing out in the individual districts,” Jensen says.
The other six districts are classified as toss-ups, with close numbers between the incumbent Republicans and a Democrat challenger.
Jensen says this shift in the political landscape is due in part to several factors, including the lack of name recognition associated with Republican state senators. He says many haven’t established credibility with their constituents.
“Democrats would have to win all of those in order to even just be able to tie control of the state Senate, but what these polls show is that Democrats are in a good position to at least win some seats back,” he says.
Governor Pat McCrory’s approval numbers in districts that he won overwhelmingly last year have declined as well. Jensen added that recent PPP polls show that McCrory’s popularity “has fallen apart.”
“His popularity was really an asset for the Republican ticket, and what we are finding in these places is that he has gone down from being an asset to really being a problem,” Jensen says.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/polls-shows-democrats-gaining-ground-in-nc-senate-races/
RALEIGH - N.C. Governor Pat McCrory’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest point yet, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh.
Tom Jensen, Director of PPP, says that 53 percent of voters in the state disapprove of the job he’s doing, compared to only 35 percent who approve.
“It’s really happened four or five months in a row now that Pat McCrory just keeps on hitting all-time lows in his approval numbers,” Jensen says.
Jensen says the numbers show that many voters appear to be upset that several of his former campaign staffers are now working in the state Department of Health and Human Services and are earning salaries of more than $80,000. Only eight percent of voters in the state support those salaries, compared to 73 percent who oppose them.
The poll also finds that McCrory is losing ground with Republicans and Independent voters.
“He had already gotten over the summer about as low as he could get with Democrats, but now he is starting to lose even more of the people who actually voted for him,” Jensen says.
In a hypothetical match-up, the numbers show that McCrory is trailing four Democrats, all of whom Jensen says do not carry significant name recognition. Those opponents are state Attorney General Roy Cooper, Janet Cowell, Charles Meeker, and Josh Stein.
“He has really lost his image as a moderate Republican,” Jensen says. ”Now, I think a lot of people who thought that he was maybe more centrist don’t like him anymore because they think that he is just a total conservative.”
Jensen says increasing the minimum wage is one way that might help McCrory get back his bipartisan credibility and influence his approval ratings positively. Sixty-one percent of voters in the state favor increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour, with only 30 percent opposed.
To see the full results of the poll, which surveyed 600 North Carolina voters, you click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/mccrorys-approval-rating-falls-to-lowest-level-yet/
CHAPEL HILL- Would a big box store be a boost to the tax base or a drain on the local economy? In Chapel Hill and Carrboro the debate has flourished for years.
Now Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, says Chapel Hill may be ready to embrace at least one new name-brand store, and he’s got the numbers to prove it.
“There’s always been a lot of controversy over whether Chapel Hill would be open to a big box store, and what we found in this poll is that 56 percent of voters in town would like to have a Target in Southern Orange County,” says Jensen. “Only 15 percent are opposed to that idea.”
The proposed Obey Creek project across from Southern Village has been earmarked as a potential location for large-scale retail development, with Target as a possible anchor store.
Jensen also asked respondents how they’d feel about an Olive Garden in downtown Carrboro. While many in Orange and Chatham counties were receptive to the idea, Carrboro residents were not interested.
“Overall, voters in Orange and Chatham say they would support an Olive Garden in downtown Carrboro by a 44-35 margin,” says Jensen. What’s kind of funny when you break down the numbers is that voters in Carrboro itself are opposed to an Olive Garden- they don’t want it by a 55-33 margin.”
With many Orange County residents opening their property tax bills this time of year, Jensen says he thinks some taxpayers may be considering how to expand the commercial tax base.
The survey polled 484 registered voters living in Orange and Chatham counties. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percent. You can find the full results here.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/ppp-poll-suggests-chapel-hill-may-welcome-big-box-retail/
RALEIGH – In a very early poll for the 2016 Presidential Election, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as favorites for the ticket.
On the Democratic ticket, Sec. Clinton is a clear favorite with 52 percent of Democrats favoring her in the hypothetical primary. The only other candidate who came close is Vice President Joe Biden with 12-percent support.
In the Republican field, it is more of a dead heat, with Senator Paul leading with 16 percent. Just behind Sen. Paul are former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all with 13-percent support.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously lead polls of potential Republican candidates for the presidency, is now at ten percent, which PPP director Tom Jensen says is a result of Sen. Rubio taking the lead on immigration reform in the Senate.
“A lot of Republican voters think that he’s been too liberal on that issue and that they don’t want to see an immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Jensen says.
On the flip side, Jensen says that Sen. Paul’s high poll numbers and attention come from his filibuster regarding the United States’ drone policy, taking the liberal position on that issue. However, Jensen says it is important to consider who is on the other side of the drone debate.
“Even though the stance Paul was taking on drones maybe was a little more liberal, he was definitely standing in opposition to the president,” Jensen says. “And, I think, if there’s one thing that Republican voters appreciate, it’s a willingness to take on the president.”
Jensen says support for Sec. Clinton’s run for office comes from most Democratic voters wanting both then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Obama as their presidential nominee but having to settle for just one.
“What you’re seeing now is voters saying, ‘Well, you were very loyal to President Obama, serving in his administration. After his eight years are up, we want you to be the next in line,’” Jensen says.
With the presidential election still far away and no one announcing their candidacy yet, party leaders have yet to weigh in or give their support. Jensen says Democratic leaders would likely support Sec. Clinton if she was to run, but on the Republican side, he says it’s not that simple.
“The Republican side, I think, is a total muddle,” Jensen says. “There’s lots of qualified candidates who are pretty well known and that’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”
When Democratic voters were asked to consider a Democratic nominee besides Sec. Clinton, Vice President Biden was in the lead with 34 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following with 13 percent.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/poll-shows-paul-clinton-favorites-for-2016/
CHAPEL HILL – We never like to hear that North Carolina is being viewed in a negative light nationally, overshadowing the progressive efforts we’ve made locally. Recently, though, it seems our state can’t stay out of the spotlight, and for reasons many are not pleased about.
Chapel Hillian Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh feared that this negative press, sparked by policies rolling through the Republican-led General Assembly this session, will hurt the state’s business climate.
“We’re getting made fun of on the Daily Show, getting made fun of on the Colbert Reports, that sort of thing. You combine that with the more serious fact of getting chided by the New York Times, it seems like every week there’s a new thing getting a lot of attention where people outside the state are really sort of making fun of North Carolina,” Jensen said.
The New York Times published an editorial last week on the state recent policies with the headline: “The Decline of North Carolina.”
“Ultimately if you get a reputation as a yokel state where the government is kind of crazy and that sort of thing, that’s bad for business recruitment and it makes businesses not want to move here and create jobs for the state,” Jensen said.
Last year, N.C. was ranked No. 4 on CNBC’s “America’s Top State’s for Business,” but this year dropped eight spots to No. 12 on the list. N.C. had previously been on the list each year since it was started in 2007.
“I think that’s one of the first signs that people outside of North Carolina sort of are waking up to the fact that North Carolina is getting extreme,” Jensen said. “That particular thing [NC dropping out of top 10 states for business] I think that maybe why you see the Republicans’ poll number getting so bad.”
Jensen explained that there is increasing dissatisfaction with the Republican majority in the House and Senate, driven by the less than transparent manner in which the abortion restriction bill was pushed through both houses. Only 34 percent of voters support the proposal, while 47 percent are opposed. 80 percent of voters think it’s inappropriate to combine abortion legislation with bills about motorcycle safety or Sharia Law. Those numbers are based on a PPP survey of 600 state voters between July 12 and July 14.
Jensen said there’s also been a major shift in voter opinion polls rating the job that N.C. Governor Pat McCrory is doing.
“This is the first time that we have ever found Governor Pat McCrory with a negative approval rating. Only 40 percent of the voters approve of the job he’s doing. 49 percent disapprove, and that’s a net 15 percent decline from last month.”
The numbers suggest that the Moral Monday protests against the policies of the General Assembly are viewed positively by a majority of North Carolinians. 45 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the demonstrations whereas only 40 percent disapprove, according to Jensen.
The protests have caught the attention of national media outlets, such as MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, who have sent camera crews to cover the weekly peaceful rallies that have resulted in more than 800 arrests.
“Nothing like this has ever happened in North Carolina,” Jensen said. “I think we’ve always been thought of as a pretty centrist but forward moving state that, especially more than any other states in the South, has been willing to move forward on key issues. What’s happened over the last two and a half years, but especially over the last six months, is something that’s very new for us.”
The 2012 election resulted in a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled General Assembly for only the second time in 140 years, but, Jensen said this could change in the next election.
“And when you ask people, ‘If there were a legislative election today, what party would you vote for?’ Democrats have a nine point lead, 51 percent to 42 percent, which is the biggest lead we have ever found for them on that measure,” Jensen said.
To view the full report by the PPP, click below:
OMAHA, NE – Notwithstanding its loss to NC State on Sunday, the Carolina baseball team is still in Omaha this week in pursuit of its first-ever College World Series title. And quite a few Triangle-area residents made the trip with them–including Tom Jensen, the team’s unofficial “superfan.”
“There’s actually a really positive vibe around the team, even after what happened (Sunday),” Jensen says. “This is a team that has shown an ability to bounce back from adversity all year, and these guys really feel like they can still do this. And we (fans) will do whatever we can to help them.”
Most of the time, Jensen’s better known as the director of Public Policy Polling, the Raleigh-based firm that’s fast developing a reputation as the most accurate pollster in the nation. But during baseball season, he’s more likely to be on national TV as the most visible (and audible) member of the Tar Heel fan base.
“It’s funny,” he says about his dual role. “I definitely have people recognize me on the street (and) in the grocery store as the Superfan–(but) nobody has ever come up to me in the grocery store and been like, ‘oh, man, you’re the pollster!’”
Though he’s the face of the Carolina fandom, Jensen’s not the only one in Nebraska wearing Carolina blue: he says he figures UNC has the second-largest fan base at the College World Series this year, behind only LSU. (Even Roy Williams made the trek to Omaha: Jensen says the basketball coach was in the stands for Sunday’s game.)
And while the Tar Heels have their backs against the wall after Sunday’s 8-1 loss to the Wolfpack, Jensen says he’ll never count out this year’s team after all the adversity they’ve already overcome. Nevertheless, he says even if the Heels don’t come home with a CWS title, it’s been a memorable season nonetheless.
“It’s a wonderful group of people,” he says. I’ve been around this program hardcore for eight years now, (and) we’ve never had a group of kids and parents as special as this year.
“And regardless of what happens the rest of the week, it’s just been one amazing ride.”
The Tar Heels face LSU on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. in a must-win game for both teams; Trent Thornton will get the start for Carolina. WCHL will broadcast the game in full on Tuesday; it’ll also stream live on Chapelboro.com.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-superfan-jensen-its-just-been-one-amazing-ride/
CHAPEL HILL-Senator Kay Hagan’s recent vote in support of background checks for gun sales might help her as she seeks re-election.
Public Policy Polling Tom Jensen says according to the company’s newest round of surveys, 52 percent of North Carolinians are more likely to vote for Hagan now that she voted in favor of those checks.
“Only 26 percent are less likely to, and that’s just a reflection that those background checks remain overwhelmingly popular,” he says. “Seventy-three percent of North Carolinians support them and only 22 percent are opposed.”
On April 17, the U.S. Senate members, including Hagan, cast ballots on a piece of legislation that would have required background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm at a gun show or over the Internet. The bill, which was formally called the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, ultimately failed 54-46.
Still, Jensen says most North Carolinians across party lines appear to support the idea of background checks.
“Eighty percent of democrats, 67 percent of independents and even 61 percent of Republicans support those background checks,” he says.
And Jensen adds that Hagan, who has also been vocal in her support for gay marriage, has consistently remained a favorite for re-election throughout Public Policy Polling’s surveys—even in a state that has recently been leaning toward more conservative ideals.
“In our last statewide poll, she was up anywhere from six to ten points against a variety of Republicans we tested her against,” he says. “There’s been some thought that as a senator in a state that voted for Mitt Romney and has a Republican-controlled state government, maybe it would really hurt Kay Hagan to take these more progressive stances by supporting things like gun control and gay marriage, but so far, that really isn’t the case. She’s doing just fine.”
PPP’s latest poll also found that Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is showing more favorable numbers after her vote for background checks—Forty-five percent of voters there say they’re now more likely to cast a ballot in her favor, while only 25 percent say they’re now planning to vote against her.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/hagan-sees-uptick-in-popularity-after-vote-for-background-checks-in-gun-sales/
CHAPEL HILL – There’s been a wave of legislation coming out of the state legislature lately—and a new poll finds that North Carolinians aren’t too happy about it.
Tom Jensen works for Public Policy Polling in Raleigh. He explains the PPP’s new poll gauged how North Carolinians feel about what’s going-on in Raleigh right now. The group surveyed 601 state voters from April 11 to 14.
“Approval numbers for the republicans in the state legislature have always been pretty bad, but they really are getting worse now as we get deep into this legislative session,” Jensen said.
The poll found that 52 percent of voters disapprove of Republicans as a whole running the state government while only 38 percent approve.
“I think it’s because so many controversial bills have been proposed by the republicans in the legislature and what we’re finding is that most of the bills are not popular with the public at large,” he said.
57 percent of North Carolinians do not approve of Senate Bill 667 or “Equalize Voter Rights,” which seeks to prohibit parents from claiming children who are registered to vote in their college communities as dependents on their tax returns.
“Even though republicans in the legislature are pushing it is that actually republican voters are opposed to it in addition to democrats and independents,” Jensen explained.
Additionally, 59 percent of voters oppose Senate Bill 666 that would reduce the numbers of early voting days from 17 to 10.
“And of course people in Orange County, even more so than in other parts of the state, have really taken advantage of early voting over the years to the extent that there are fewer people voting on Election Day generally.”
Though the state’s legislature is not popular with North Carolinians right now, the PPP poll shows that NC Governor Pat McCrory continues to be popular with an approval rating sitting at 49%. Jensen says that’s a very good number for a politician these days. He says McCrory’s numbers have been steadily positive since he was elected.