RALEIGH – A poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling shows the president’s approval rating stalled at his lowest point.
That’s because his biggest domestic policy achievement continues to hold his numbers down.
The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular with most voters surveyed by PPP, and Democrats everywhere are taking the hit.
Tom Jensen, director of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, breaks it down.
“We continue to find Barack Obama with some of the lowest numbers he’s had since taking office,” says Jensen. “Only 41 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing nationally. Fifty-three percent disapprove.”
That 41 percent mark, for the second month in a row, matches the lowest number for the president in the PPP survey.
The numbers for Democrats, in general, are sinking. Republicans now have a slight lead in a generic congressional ballot, 42-to-40. That’s a seven-point shift from the height of the government shutdown in October.
The Affordable Care Act appears to be the biggest drag on their approval rating. Only 38 percent of voters like the ACA, with 52 percent opposed. Only 32 percent think it’s been implemented successfully, while 62 percent do not.
But Jensen says that two issues may signal a bright side for Democrats.
“We find that a couple of the things that Barack Obama might emphasize this year are really quite popular,” says Jensen. “When it comes to extending unemployment benefits, 63 percent of voters think they should be extended. Only 32 percent think they should be cut off.”
Plus, the Democrats have the upper hand when it comes to raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour.
“Fifty-five percent of voters support that,” says Jensen. “Only 36 percent are opposed.”
With that in mind, Jensen says the president should try to take the focus off Obamacare, if he’d like to see his numbers improve.
“He needs to find some issues where he can get some support across party lines,” says Jensen.
Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling says that Tillis, the presumptive front runner of the Republican challengers, has distanced himself slightly and now leads the field with 19 percent of voters polled picking him. His closest challenger trails with 11 percent.
“Just last month, we found that all the candidates were pretty much within one or two points of each other, but after starting to run television ads last week, we are finally seeing Tillis get out ahead of the pack,” Jensen says.
Forty six percent of Republican primary voters are familiar with Tillis, Jensen explains, compared to less than 30 percent for his field of challengers which include physician Greg Brannon, nurse practitioner Heather Grant, and radio host Bill Flynn.
Tillis is now leading in every region of the state except the Triad, where Flynn is well-known for his radio show. Jensen says Tillis has the lead with both conservative and moderate voters.
In the North Carolina general election, Jensen says the race has been in a holding pattern over the last three months. Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is trailing her potential Republican opponents by small margins as she continues to suffer from poor approval ratings.
“Throughout the summer, we had found Kay Hagan up by a pretty substantial margin, but ever since the Obamacare stuff, this has really been looking like a 50-50 race.”
Jensen says Hagan’s affiliation and support of the Affordable Care Act is greatly impacting her approval rating.
“She has some of the lowest approval ratings she has had over her entire term,” Jensen says. “Only 39 percent of voters approve of the job Hagan is doing. Forty-nine percent disapprove. What is really interesting is when you look at those approval numbers, they mirror the approval numbers for Obamacare in North Carolina almost exactly.”
Only 38 percent of voters in the State support Obamacare, compared to 48 percent who are opposed.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/race-us-senate-tillis-widens-lead-rep-primary/
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/