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POLL: McCrory tops Perdue by 14, Cooper by only 8

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RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE FROM PUBLIC POLICY POLLING) – North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue continues to slide with the public as she tangles with the Republican legislature. Her deficit to 2008 and likely 2012 opponent Pat McCrory is yet a bit larger than in PPP’s previous poll of the state in mid- February. Fortunately for her but unfortunately for the Democratic Party, which has held the governor’s mansion since 1993, only one other possible nominee would do significantly better against McCrory, Attorney General Roy Cooper, but he still lags.

Perdue’s job performance rating has taken another hit over the last month. Still with 30% approval, the same as last month, 52% of North Carolinians now disapprove, versus 48% a month ago. Only half of her partymates can say they like what she has been doing, with 30% disapproving (up from 45-28 in February). At the same time, though, she has not unexpectedly regressed with Republicans (to 77% disapproval from 69%) and independents, who give her a 21-53 mark, versus 30-52 in the previous poll.

McCrory is still pretty popular, if not very well known, with a 34-22 favorability margin. Republicans have boosted their opinions of him, from 43% to 52% positive in a month. He now has a majority against Perdue, 50-36, up a hair from 49-37 last time. Perdue can still only get 61% of her party’s support, with McCrory attracting almost a quarter (23%) of Perdue’s base, which comprises 45% of the electorate. McCrory locks up the GOP (38% of voters), and independents side with him by the same 15-point margin as last month. Perdue can take a little solace in that more Democrats and independents are undecided than Republicans, but she has to get her base in line to win re-election.

A Democratic primary battle is unlikely, but if Perdue were to not run again, Cooper would start out trailing McCrory, 43-35. State Senator Dan Blue and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton lag by similar 48-28 and 47-27 margins.

These major statewide figures have even lower profiles than McCrory. Cooper is a non-entity to 56% of voters, Blue to 67%, and Dalton to 69%.

“Bev Perdue starts at a disadvantage for reelection but so would any other Democrat,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It’s looking like this office will be a very tough hold for the party next year.”

PPP surveyed 584 North Carolina voters from March 17th to 20th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.1%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

NCGOP RESPONSE:
Today, the Democrat polling firm, Public Policy Polling, released a survey highlighting the struggle ahead for North Carolina Democrats in 2012. Per the release by Public Policy Polling, the North Carolina Governor’s seat “will be a very tough hold for the party next year” (see the release from Public Policy Polling here).

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes has released the following statement:

“Big government Democrats in the Tar Heel State have become so toxic that even the Democrat pollsters can’t slant numbers favorably for Governor Perdue and her liberal allies. This poll is proof that the people of North Carolina overwhelmingly object to the big government, big spending policies of Governor Perdue and her liberal allies and are ready to take their state back.”

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