Tag Archives: Tillis

North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction

Republicans took office this January pledging to change the direction that North Carolina was heading. By all accounts, they were successful.

Here’s the bad news: most North Carolinians who responded in the latest Elon University Poll don’t like it.

Fifty-nine percent said the state was headed in the wrong direction, compared with 32 percent who said the course was right. Unfortunately for the GOP, 49 percent blamed the Republicans, compared with just 19 percent pointing the finger at the Democrats. (27 percent blamed neither.)

Could be worse: 70 percent of North Carolinians said that the country was headed in the wrong direction.

Digging into the blame game on the state level:

Political party: 76 percent of Democrats blame Republicans, and 56 percent of Republicans blamed Democrats. Shocking!

Gender: 51 percent of men and 48 percent of women blame Republicans.

Age: 47 percent of 18-30-year olds ranging to 59 percent of 65+ blame Republicans.

Race: 46 percent of whites and 60 percent of blacks blame Republicans.

The dissatisfaction holds across the board throughout the poll as the General Assembly and Gov. McCrory saw their approval ratings drop.

The General Assembly took a number of controversial — and to some, unpopular — steps, including changing voting access, making abortion access stricter, loosening gun control and not giving teachers raises. Thousands rallied in protest every Monday during the spring and summer.

The state came in for damning coverage from the national news media, including editorials in the New York Times and the Washington Post. It’s unclear, though, how much the media coverage impacted the results. When asked if they had heard of the Moral Monday protests, for instance, 39 percent of respondents said they hadn’t.

Of course, it’s more than what happens in Raleigh. The state’s unemployment level is still high. People dissatisfied with Congress and the president are likely to carry their dissatisfaction over to the state level.

Meanwhile, the poll also shows that 29 percent of North Carolinians think the economy will get worse, with 26 percent thinking it will get better and 42 percent saying it will stay the same. (Most Democrats think it will get better or stay about the same; most Republicans think it will get worse or stay about the same.) Hardly a vote of confidence.

Gov. McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger have said they are proud of the work they did leading the state in a different, more conservative, direction. As people get used to the new legislation and its impacts, the numbers likely will change. Only time will tell in which direction.

— 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

Thom Tillis and Phil Berger have challenges

House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger have some work to do if either wants to be the next senator from the great state of North Carolina.

In the Elon University Poll, 67 percent of respondents don’t recognize Tillis’ name, and 64 percent didn’t recognize Berger’s name.

And that’s not even the biggest challenge they face.

Tillis, a Republican from Cornelius, has been in the state legislature since 2006 and has served as Speaker of the House since 2011. Berger, a Republican from Eden, has been a senator since 2000 and has been Senate Majority Leader since 2011. Tillis has declared his candidacy for the Senate seat now held by Kay Hagan, a Democrat. Berger hasn’t. Yet.

The general election is more than a year off so there is time to build name recognition.

The steep hill before them is that both men have high unfavorability ratings.

Of those who said they knew Tillis’ name, only 22 percent rated him favorably and 35 percent unfavorably. For Berger, it was 21 percent favorable and 30 unfavorable.

For comparison, Hagan’s job approval rating is 38 percent, and her disapproval rating is 35 percent. So, she’s clearly vulnerable, which state and national Republicans know.

Digging into the numbers:

Tillis: More Republicans have a favorable impression than Democrats (15 percent vs. 11 percent); more men than women (30 percent vs. 15 percent); and more whites than blacks (23 percent vs. 17 percent.)

Berger: More Republicans have a favorable impression than Democrats (34 percent vs. 12 percent) and more men than women (23 percent vs. 18 percent). In something of a surprise, more blacks than whites (24 percent vs. 20 percent).

Again, it’s early. Both men had many, many people who, even though they recognized the candidates’ names, didn’t have an opinion on them.

All of the “don’t knows” can translate into people who don’t associate either man with the actions of the General Assembly. Given the low ratings of the General Assembly, that’s a good thing.

— John Robinson