If you’re a Republican in North Carolina, this poll might freak you out a little
Commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute—and despite appearing to have a fairly conservative sample (e.g., 50 percent of respondents still support an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and 68 percent support voter ID)—the survey of six hundred registered North Carolina voters finds that Governor Cooper is pretty popular (61 percent approve, 24 percent don’t) and Donald Trump isn’t (42/53). In addition, almost twice as many believe Cooper cares more about them than GOP legislators.
But that’s not the part that should worry the NCGOP. This is.
In a generic legislative ballot, 47 percent said they would vote for a Democrat, to just 32 percent who said they would vote for the Republican—a fifteen-point margin. And look at the change: it was four points a month ago. If that margin is anything like that come election time—a ginormous if, granted—the GOP could be in for a world of hurt.
As Democratic political consultant Thomas Mills
, who gave a polling presentation for Civitas this week, explains on his website:
To put those numbers into perspective, that’s the largest spread the poll has ever recorded. The last time it was even close to as wide was October 2010, when Republicans held a seven-point advantage just ahead of their wave election that gave them control of both chambers of the legislature. This poll could be an outlier, but if this is the beginning of a trend, the GOP should be running for cover.
It could indeed be an outlier. It could also be a blip. The Republicans have had a bad run of news cycles, with the Russia scandal boiling over and the health care mess and Trump’s unpopularity weighing them down. That could change, and quickly.
And even if those numbers are real and hold up, the Republican gerrymander could make it difficult for Democrats to overcome the GOP majority in 2018—though it might perhaps be enough to crack the supermajority, which would at least allow Cooper’s veto to mean something.