by Bob Geary
Don't look now, but the supposedly unpopular Gov. Bev Perdue is kicking Republican sternum all over NC in the fight over the budget and public schools.
[Update: Oh, we didn't see that one coming. The Gov just hit the deck on the broadband issue — she announced she won't sign or veto HB 129, which has the effect of making this bad boy law. The judges will have to decide if it's a knockdown or a slip — either way, it looks like it's a round lost. Her statement is copied below.]
It's early rounds, but the diminutive governor has shown surprising speed and punching power against the General Assembly's roundhouse-throwing Tillis-Stam-Berger-McCrory tag team. While the GOP'ers fire wild punches (at early voters, train riders, women, gays), she's landing straight-ahead shots on the school, community college and UNC funding issues.
This just in from the Public Policy Polling organization (click on this link for the full crosstabs):
The biggest beneficiary of the growing unpopularity of North Carolina's Legislative Republicans? It might be Governor Bev Perdue. Despite continuing to have only a 35% approval rating, with 49% of voters disapproving of her, Perdue has pulled this month within 7 points of Pat McCrory in a hypothetical rematch of their 2008 match up. That makes the first time in four polls that Perdue's found herself within single digits of her former and likely future foe.
Perdue trails McCrory 46-39. The main reason for her improvement is the general trend in North Carolina of independents turning away from the GOP. Perdue has a 41-37 deficit with independents now, but that's a far cry from the 49-30 spread she was behind by a month ago. Perdue could get reelected next year if she loses independent voters by only 4 points. Her bigger problem continues to be a lack of support from her party base. While 78% of Republicans are committed to voting for McCrory, only 63% of Democrats will say the same for Perdue. She needs her party behind her to a greater extent than that to get reelected.
One thing that's very interesting digging inside of the Perdue/McCrory numbers is that Perdue's 23 point deficit with white voters right now is almost identical to the 22 point margin we found her losing them by in 2008. The big difference is that she's only up 63-20 with black voters, where we found her winning them 90-9 the last time around.
It's not that we found some conservative crop of black voters- Barack Obama's running 28 points ahead against Mitt Romney with black voters of where Perdue is against McCrory. So she does have some work to do there but still when push comes to shove black voters generally end up overwhelmingly supporting Democratic candidates and if that happens for Perdue again next year she starts looking more like she's 50/50 for reelection than favored to lose as the conventional wisdom is now.
Legislative Republicans are proving to be a good foil for Perdue. In February voters said they trusted them more than her to run the state by a 44-37 margin and Perdue trailed McCrory by a 12 point margin. Now that question has basically gone even with voters saying they trust the GOP legislature more by only a 41-40 spread and it's no coincidence that she's also pulling closer for reelection. The new majorities seem to be dragging McCrory down a little bit and it's going to be interesting to see what, if anything, he does to differentiate himself from them. Their actions could hurt the moderate image McCrory has cultivated that makes him such a formidable candidate.
Gov. Perdue's statement on HB 129:
“I believe that every school, household and business in North Carolina — no matter where they are — should have access to efficient and affordable broadband services.
There is a need to establish rules to prevent cities and towns from having an unfair advantage over providers in the private sector. My concern with House Bill 129 is that the restrictions the General Assembly has imposed on cities and towns who want to offer broadband services may have the effect of decreasing the number of choices available to their citizens.
For these reasons, I will neither sign nor veto this bill. Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.”