Tag Archives: Independents

The General Assembly’s approval rating is still low but basically unchanged

It’s a good thing that the General Assembly hasn’t been in session for a few months. Its job approval rating has flattened out after a long decline.

In the latest Elon University Poll, 32% of registered N.C. voters said they approved of the way the legislature is doing its job. That’s the same percentage as those who responded in our September poll. 

It also remains the lowest in recent memory

Politics — 50% of Republicans are cool with the legislature, which makes some sense as the GOP controls it. 32% of Independents and 17% of Democrats approve of how the solons are handling the job. In September, it was 52% of Republicans, 30% of Independents and 19% of Democrats.

Gender — A decent split: 39% of men and 25% of women approve. In September, it was 37% of men and 28% of women.

Race — Another decent split: 35% of whites and 21% of blacks approve. In September, it was 35% of whites and 25% of blacks.

Age — The 18-30 year-old group gives the legislature the highest rating at 41%; the lowest — 27% — is registered by the 41-50 age group and those 65 and older.

Explanation: The numbers haven’t changed in any significant way since our poll in September. Makes sense as the General Assembly hasn’t done much to grab headlines.

— John Robinson

Everybody hates Congress

Will the registered North Carolina voters who approve of how Congress is doing its job please stand up?

Based on the latest Elon University Poll, you might be able to fill the Greensboro Coliseum and still have room for a band.

In September, 8% of registered voters in North Carolina said they approve of Congress. (85% disapprove.) That’s down from 14% in September. Thank you, government shutdown. Thank you, health care. Thank you, partisanship.

The disgust with reflected across the board, but for the sake of consistency, let’s’ dig into the numbers:

Politics — Democrats approval: 10%; Independents and Republicans, 7%. In September, Republicans were at 19% to Democrats’ 14%.

Gender — 9% for men and 8% for women.

Race — 12% for blacks and 7% for men.

Age — The highest rating came from the 31-40 age group at 12%; the lowest was the 65+ group at 5%.

Explanation: Do we really need one?

— John Robinson

Sen. Kay Hagan’s approval rating weakens

Despite the bumbling rollout of the healthcare initiative, the federal government shutdown and being targeted by the National GOP for defeat in 2014, Sen. Kay Hagan’s approval numbers among North Carolinians aren’t as bad as you might think.

In the latest Elon University Poll, 37% of registered voters polled in North Carolina said they approved of how she is doing her job vs. 43.5% who said they disapproved. That a drop of 1 percentage point from her approval rating in September.

The bad news is that the percentage of N.C. registered voters who said they disapproved of her went up 8.5 percentage points since September.

Digging into the numbers:

Politics — Not surprisingly, 63% of Democrats support her vs. 32% of Independents and 13% of Republicans. Since September, her support among Democrats has increased and decreased among Republicans. Then, it was 56% of Democrats, 36% of Independents, and 23% of Republicans.

Gender — Again, not surprisingly, 40% of women say they approve of how she’s doing her job vs. 34% of men. That’s essentially unchanged from two months ago.

Race — 53% of African Americans approve vs 31% of whites. Since September, support has increased slightly among blacks and decreased slightly among whites.

Age — The 18-30 year-old age group rates her the highest, at 45%; the 41-50 age group rates her the lowest, at 30%.

Explanation: As a Democrat who supports President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, Hagan’s approval ratings are slipping along with Obama’s and many Democrats in Congress. Her GOP opponents are and will continue to tie her to Obama, which isn’t a bad strategy right now. She is also a member of a once-august body — Congress — that the public doesn’t hold in high esteem.

But in one way, the strategy is moot. Until she has an opponent, the horse race numbers don’t matter.

By the way, Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican NOT up for re-election in 2014, shouldn’t take much for granted.

— John Robinson

General Assembly sinks to new low

In 2009, 55 percent of North Carolina residents who responded to our poll approved of the job the General Assembly was doing.

Last week, just 32 percent of respondents said they did.

That number is the lowest in recent memory and down from 37 percent in April.


It could be the price the state GOP is paying for changing the state’s direction on so many things this spring and summer. Holding a super majority in the Senate and House and with a fellow Republican in the governor’s mansion, the GOP did pretty much what it wanted, including passing controversial laws about abortion, voting rights and guns.

Because the changes were so quick and dramatic, the publicity and protests that accompanied them were loud. Protesters rallied each week in Raleigh and called their events “Moral Mondays.”

Digging into the numbers:

Political party: 52 percent of Republicans approve of the General Assembly’s performance vs. 30 percent of Independents and 19 percent of Democrats.

Gender: 37 percent of men approve vs. 28 percent of women.

Race: 35 percent of whites approve vs. 25 percent of blacks.

It’s unclear whether either House Speaker Thom Tillis or Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger care about the low rating. They both knew their actions in Raleigh were going to be controversial; they have both expressed pride in the direction of the state. Tillis has already declared his candidacy for the 2014 U.S. Senate seat held by Kay Hagan. Berger is reportedly considering the race, too.

From a pragmatic standpoint, the low rating doesn’t mean much. House and Senate seats have been reconfigured to benefit incumbents, who are primarily Republicans. Meanwhile, the voting public will not have an opportunity to voice its opinion until November 2014.

— John Robinson

N.C independents aren’t lining up for Obama

Party affiliation also played into perceptions. Eighty-seven percent of self-identifed Democrats approve of his job performance, while 87 percent of self-identifed Republicans approve.

Big shock, huh? Here’s the interesting sentence from the Elon University Poll: Independents skewed toward more unfavorable marks; 51 percent disapprove of his job performance while 39 percent approve.

This is an opportunity for Republicans. President Obama captured the independent vote in 2008. It helped him win North Carolina. He has to have a big piece of it to win in 2012. Likewise, the GOP must have an equally big chunk for its candidate to win the state. Right now, these voters are up for grabs.

(These results also dispel the idea that independents are liberals in sheep’s clothing.)

According to an analysis by a centrist Democratic think tank:

The fight for independent voters is already shaping up to be tougher in 2012 than it was four years ago. Democratic registration is down in eight battleground states, while independent registration is up 3.4%, according to a Third Way analysis.

Diggles and Erickson contend it would be a mistake to lump all independents together. The independent voters who backed Obama in 2008 are more moderate than independents writ large, and a significant proportion of the president’s independent backers showed in the midterm elections that they are truly swing voters.

Count on these numbers shifting. Because independents are, well, independent, they can hardly be expected to make a decision when the Republican nominee hasn’t yet been determined. I suspect that many in this group will not put a stake in the ground for one candidate until October.

— John Robinson