In a time where we continually hear about divided politics and the polarization of America, a new poll from Public Policy Polling said there are a few issues North Carolinians can agree on.
“Redistricting has obviously been one of the biggest issues in the state so far this year,” said director Tom Jensen. “We found 59 percent of voters in the state want the law changed so district lines are drawn up in an nonpartisan fashion. Only nine percent of voters are opposed to doing that.”
The democrats surveyed supported independent redistricting 65 to six. Independents supported it 56 to 12 and republicans supported it 54 to 11.
“What’s most interesting is those republican numbers,” Jensen said. “Certainly if there was independent redistricting republicans would not have quite as lofty of a majority as they do in the congressional delegation and in the state legislature right now, but we find on that ‘small d’ democracy issue even republicans are in agreement.”
Jenson said North Carolinians are also in agreement on mandatory background checks for gun purchases, raising the minimum wage to 10 dollars an hour and the EPA clean power plan, but these agreements don’t always turn into action.
“Even when you have 17 republicans running, not a single one of them would say they supported increasing the minimum wage, even to $10 an hour,” he said. “We find the republican base has a very different view than republican politicians with 53 percent supporting at least ($10 dollars an hour).”
While these issues are more closely associated with democratic candidates, democratic challengers at the state level are having a hard time picking up votes.
Republican senator Richard Burr and governor Pat McCrory are both up for reelection in November.
“The interesting dynamic you have with both McCrory and Burr is that republican voters aren’t that in love with them,” Jensen said. “Burr has about a 50 percent approval rating with republicans. McCrory is in the 60s. But then when you ask would you vote for McCrory or Roy Cooper, Richard or the democrat, they get 80 to 85 percent of the vote.”
Jenson said McCrory has a -7 approval rating, but still leads expected challenger Roy Cooper by a few points. Burr has a -11 approval rating, but leads his expected challenger Deborah Ross by six points.
“There are a lot of republicans who don’t actually like them, but will still vote for them over a democrat,” Jensen said.
RALEIGH – Public Policy Polling(PPP) released their latest poll on the North Carolina Senate race this week, and for the third time in as many months found a different Republican front-runner to challenge Kay Hagan this fall.
“The top choice among Republicans to be their U.S Senate candidate next year would be Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest,” says PPP director Tom Jensen. “We find him polling at 18%, 13% for Congresswomen Virginia Foxx, 12% for Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, and 10% for Congresswomen Renee Ellmers. Everybody else who we tested drew single-digits.”
The poll also shows the probable Republican candidates are struggling with name recognition. Only Forest and Berry were recognized by over half of respondents.
Jensen says the lack of name recognition is leading to a wide-open race.
“In January, Virginia Foxx had the lead and last month Cherrie Berry had the lead,” says Jensen. “I think when you see a different leader every month like that, it just shows how really wide open the Republican Senate race is. None of the folks are particularly well-known at that point, and that means it is really up for grabs. Just about anyone could win the nomination.”
“She has leads ranging from 10 to 19 points against these Republicans,” says Jensen. “I think that Hagan is in a pretty decent position, but it is still going to get closer. We see a lot of undecided Republicans in all of these matchups simply because Republican voters are not familiar with their potential candidates”
According to Jensen, Dan Forest and Patrick McHenry poll the best in direct competition with Hagan.
Because of the lack of recognition of Republican candidates, Jensen says Hagan’s approval numbers may be a better indicator of how close the race could be this fall.