Every month, the conservative Civitas Institute releases a poll on North Carolina. The one taken in May might have Republicans freaking out a little bit.
It's not just that Donald Trump is underwater, at 42 percent approval to 53 percent disapproval; that tracks with just about every poll you see these days.
Nor is it that Democratic governor Roy Cooper is holding strong, with 61 percent approval; chalk that up to a honeymoon. He'll come back to earth eventually.
Rather, it's this: by a 47–32 margin—fifteen percentage points—the six hundred registered voters polled said they would vote for the Democrat rather than the Republican if the legislative election were held today.
As Democratic operative Thomas Mills noted on his website, in October 2010, just ahead of the GOP wave that gave them control of the General Assembly, Republicans held a seven-point advantage on this question.
Now for the caveats: this could be an outlier. We'll have to see how Civitas's June and July polls shake out. It could also be a blip, tied to Trump's scandals. In politics, things can change quickly.
And even if it's real and it sticks, legislative gerrymandering—assuming the Supreme Court doesn't strike it down—could help immunize Republicans from a wave, making it difficult for Democrats to overcome the GOP majority in 2018. Then again, the wave might be enough to crack the supermajority, which would at least allow Cooper's veto to mean something.
This article appeared in print with the headline "+POLL POSITION."