Gov. McCrory Trails Dem Opponent By 5 In North Carolina Governor’s Race

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina gets more bad news today via the latest PPP poll showing him trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper by 5 points, thanks in part to McCrory’s unwavering support of anti-LGBT law, HB2.

For the first time this entire cycle PPP finds a clear leader in the race to be North Carolina’s next Governor: Roy Cooper. Cooper’s at 46% to 41% for Pat McCrory, with Libertarian Lon Cecil at 2%. When undecideds and Cecil voters are asked who they’d pick if they had to choose between Cooper and McCrory, Cooper’s lead ticks up to 50/43.

McCrory continues to be unpopular, with only 41% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapprove. This makes 39 months in a row we’ve found his approval rating under water. Voters are generally having a positive reaction as they’ve become more familiar with Cooper, with 40% of voters rating him positively to 32% who have a negative opinion.

The story in this race is Cooper’s strength with independent voters. He leads McCrory 44-33 with them in the full field, and 50-34 with them in the head to head. By contrast, McCrory defeated Walter Dalton by a 2:1 margin with independents in 2012. But they have largely soured on him with now only 36% approving of him to 49% who disapprove.

HB2 is causing McCrory big trouble as well. By a 20 point margin voters want to see it repealed- just 32% support keeping it on the books, to 52% who think it should be overturned. Among pivotal independent voters, there’s 56/29 support for repeal. There may be one simple reason HB2 is so unpopular – it’s a bill targeting LGBT people, yet only 19% of North Carolinians say they have a negative opinion of LGBT people, to 47% with a positive one and 34% who are indifferent. A bill cutting the rights of a group of people that only a small slice of the electorate has a problem with isn’t going to be very popular.

I have to comment on the “only 19% of North Carolinians say they have a negative opinion of LGBT people.” Isn’t it sad that almost one in five people in the state views LGBTs negatively and that can be characterized as “only?”