RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) -- A new poll by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling finds little has changed in the race for North Carolina governor.
In PPP's newest poll, Pat McCrory holds a seven-point lead over Walter Dalton, 45-38. Libertarian Barbara Howe has seven percent. McCrory's lead has been six to seven points in all four surveys PPP has conducted since Dalton won the Democratic nomination.
PPP says McCrory continues to lead for two main reasons. He's up by double digits with independents, 46-32, and he's benefiting from a considerably more unified party base. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans say that they're going to vote for McCrory, while only 64 percent of Democrats are committed to Dalton at this point.
The negativity of the campaign seems to be taking a toll on the image of both candidates, PPP reports. McCrory's net favorability has dropped from +10 last month to +7 with 41 percent of voters rating him favorably and 34 percent holding a negative opinion. Dalton declined by six points from -1 to -7 with 24 percent of voters rating him favorably and 31 percent having a negative opinion.
PPP says its survey shows the Republican strength at the top of the ticket looks to be making the other statewide offices more competitive than usual this year as well. The race for Lieutenant Governor is effectively tied, with Republican Dan Forest leading Democrat Linda Coleman 38-37.
Democrats lead most of the other races PPP polled this month, but they're all up by smaller margins than they won by in 2008. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall won by 14 points in 2008. She currently leads Republican challenger Ed Goodwin by only six percentage points at 43-37. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin won by seven points last time around. He now leads his GOP foe Mike Causey by a 40-36 spread. Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson is running the closest to her standing from last time. She was an eight-point winner and leads Republican nominee John Tedesco 44-37. Tedesco is down 55-32 in the Triangle, where the Wake County School Board has proven to be very unpopular.
The biggest leader in this month's poll is Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, who's up 10 points on Democratic challenger John Brooks at 44-34.
Voters continue to be very unhappy with the state legislature, PPP says. Only 22 percent of voters approve of the job it's doing to 49 percent who disapprove. The Democrats in the General Assembly (36/48 favorability) are unpopular, but the Republicans (35/52) are even more unpopular. As a result Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot by a 44/43 margin. With the Republican drawn redistricting lines, though, Democrats are not likely to be able to retake either chamber of the legislature with that kind of split, pollsters say.