Early voting at Chavis Community Center in Southeast Raleigh, 10/20/2016.
The latest poll released by the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling
finds that Governor Pat McCrory's approval ratings are back in the positives after Hurricane Matthew, but Democrats have gotten off to a hot start in early voting, with double-digit leads at the top of the ticket.
PPP notes that it hadn't found a positive view of McCrory in its polls since July 2013, but, as with Rick Scott in Florida
, McCrory saw a bump in his approval ratings after Matthew, as now 45 percent approve of the job he's doing to 43 percent who disapprove. In the governor's race, however, McCrory is still down, with PPP finding Democratic nominee Roy Cooper leading McCrory within the margin of error, 46 percent to 44.
In early voting numbers, however, Cooper and other Democrats can take heart: they currently have a more than 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans, four days and 408,906 votes into early voting.
PPP's polling of those who have already voted found similarly good news for Democrats at the top of the ticket: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 63 to 37 percent (with Gary Johnson polling at less than half of a percent) among those who've already cast their ballots, Cooper leads McCrory 61 to 33 in the same group, and in the Senate race, Democratic challenger Deborah Ross leads Republican incumbent Richard Burr 52 to 34 percent in a poll of early voters, with Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh picking up a respectable 7 percent.
It's important to remember that, while early voting numbers are encouraging for Democrats, it's not over by a long shot: at the end of early voting in 2012, Barack Obama had an estimated five point lead
over Mitt Romney, and Romney was still able to eke out a win here by two points
. But if Clinton and Cooper's margins continue to hold by double digits, it's going to be very difficult for Trump and McCrory, at least, to make a strong-enough showing on Election Day to overcome those deficits.
In other races: PPP finds Democrat Josh Stein with a five point lead over HB 2 heavyweight champion
Buck Newton in standard polling for the attorney general race, Run Forest Run
leading Democrat Linda Coleman by four for lieutenant governor, and Dan Blue III and Dale Folwell separated by just two points in the state treasurer's race.