Gov. Pat McCrory’s job approval ratings have stopped their downward plunge. Now they are just trickling down.
In the latest Elon University Poll, 33% of N.C. registered voters polled said they approve of how McCrory is handling his job. That is down from 36% in September. Not good, of course, but there is a bright side. The percentage who said they disapproved of his work? It dropped from 46% in September to 44% this month. (Both approval and disapproval are within the margin of error.)
Explanations: He’s been busy. the McCrory camp has spent six figures on television advertising over the past six weeks to burnish his image that had gotten tarnished by political fights over the summer. McCrory has also traveled the state cutting ribbons and speaking to civic groups. He’s even crossed the country for politics and business recruitment. The public’s overall distrust and animosity, even, for all government likely affects his numbers, too.
But memories are relatively short in politics.
Digging into the numbers:
Politics — A dramatic split: 64% of Republicans approve of his job vs. 29% of Independents and only 15% of Democrats. Since September, the percentage of Republicans has risen and percentage of Democrats has dropped.
Gender — A split that is getting interesting: 37% of men vs. 30 % of women approve of how he is doing job. He has lost support primarily among men. Two months ago, it was wider: 41% of men vs 32% of women.
Race — His support among black registered voters continues to plummet. 40% of whites approve vs. just 12% of African Americans. In September, it was 42% white support and 22% black support.
Age — His highest rating comes from the 41-50 age group at 37%; lowest from the 31-40 age group at 28%.
— John Robinson
Teachers are pretty chapped at not getting a raise again this year. When political appointees only a few years out of college got huge raises, teachers got even angrier.
Teachers should be cheered by the results of the latest Elon University Poll. Asked if teachers are paid too much too little or just right, the poll respondents were clear. 81 percent said too little and 12 percent said just right. Only 2 percent said too much.
Of course, those results and $4 will buy them a macchiato at Starbucks. These are similar results to our April poll in which 74 percent said teachers were paid too little.
There is no need to look at the demographic breakdown — the dominant feeling in every group was that teachers are paid too little.
N.C. registered voters, by a 53 percent to 38 percent margin, support teacher tenure. This is a switch from April, when 54 percent opposed tenure compared with 40 percent that supported it. The legislature abolished tenure this past summer. But the politicians couldn’t find money for a raise.
According to WRAL.com: “The state’s average teacher salary of $45,967 is almost $10,000 less than the national average. Starting pay for a teacher in North Carolina is $30,800 a year, and it takes 15 years to get to $40,000.”
When the legislative session was over, Gov. Pat McCrory pledged extra pay for teachers who earn advanced degrees. He also said he expects to give teachers raises next year.
— John Robinson
The presidential race in North Carolina is not the only contest we polled likely voters on. But gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton probably wishes it were.
If the election were held today, Republican Pat McCrory swamps Democrat Dalton among likely voters 52% to 37%. Much of that is name recognition. McCrory, who ran for governor four years ago, has it. Lt. Gov. Dalton doesn’t, at least not yet.
Dalton told the Charlotte Observer that he isn’t worried. “We have plenty of time left; people really have not focused on the race,” he said. “I really don’t go crazy about the polls right now.”
That’s probably a good thing. The conservative-leaning Civitas Poll has McCrory leading with unaffiliated voters, 46% to 29%. The Democratic-leaning PPP has it McCrory 45%-39%.
— John Robinson
The most obvious conclusion from the Elon University Poll on the gubernatorial race? It hasn’t really started yet.
The leading GOP candidate, Pat McCrory? Half of the respondents don’t know enough to have an opinion of him.
The Democrats? Bob Etheridge, who is probably the best known candidate, given his years as State Superintendent of Public Instruction and in Congress, gets 60% on the “don’t know” meter. Sixty-eight percent don’t know enough about Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, and 77% don’t know enough about State Rep. Bill Faison.
It’s no wonder that McCrory isn’t campaigning much. There’s no reason as he’s headed to an easy primary win and should keep his powder dry — and money saved — until after Labor Day.
But the Democrats? Yikes! A week before the poll was in the field, the Democratic candidates debated the issues and each other three times. The debates were televised. Presumably their names were fresh on voters’ minds. Seemingly few of the 640 people we polled watched or were able to draw conclusions about the candidates. Primary Day is a week away and a majority of the population doesn’t know enough about any of the Democratic candidates to have an opinion. Scary. Let’s hope that those who actually show up to vote have an idea.
Interestingly, 57% of respondents told us that they are following the primary closely. Presumably they meant the presidential primary.
— John Robinson
There is only one conclusion to draw from the latest Elon University Poll on the governor’s race: North Carolinians are not engaged. At all. Seriously.
But wait! Don’t stop reading. There’s a quiz at the end of this post.
Back to the governor’s race. Respondents were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of each of 11 candidates. For each candidate, at least half of the people said they didn’t know or were unable to judge.
People aren’t tuned into the race yet, but that’s OK. The candidates aren’t either. Thank Gov. Bev Perdue for that. When she made the surprise announcement in January that she was not going to seek re-election, she more than stirred the political pot — she flipped it over, and it hasn’t been righted yet.
Republican Pat McCrory ran a statewide campaign in 2008 when he lost to Purdue by 3 percentage points and was endorsed by the newspapers in Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham and Asheville. In the Elon Poll, he is viewed most favorably — 33%. Fifty-four percent said they didn’t know him well enough to judge.
Among Democrats, Bob Etheridge, who served in Congress 14 years and was State Superintendent of Public Instruction for 8 years before that, is viewed favorably by 16%. Sixty-eight percent said they didn’t know him well enough.
Here’s the most interesting observation: It says something about the position of lieutenant governor when 80% of the respondents said they are “unable to judge” or “don’t know” enough about the man in the job to have an opinion about him. Do you know who he is?
— John Robinson