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NC-Gov: Two New Polls Give Gov. Roy Cooper (D) The Lead Over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R)

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Two new polls were released recently on the upcoming Governor race in North Carolina. First, from the conservative group, Civitas & Harper Polling:

The latest Civitas Poll has found that in a 2020 matchup for the governor’s race, Gov. Roy Cooper is leading Republican candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by 10 points (37 to 47) with 16 percent of respondents saying they’re undecided.

In a survey of 500 likely voters from across the state, respondents were asked, “If the 2020 election for Governor of North Carolina were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Republican Dan Forest, OR Democrat Roy Cooper?”

Forest          37%

Cooper        47%

Undecided 16%

With a little less than 18 months until the next election, this snapshot of current voter sentiment will likely fluctuate as each campaign crystalizes its agenda items and mobilizes its grassroots teams. Interestingly, a look at the votes cast for lieutenant governor in 2016 reveal that Forest received over 84,000 more votes than Cooper and over 30,000 more than President Donald Trump.  Nonetheless, the governor has had several instances in which his name recognition has grown, coordinating particularly with the onset of and recovery from Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

“Given Gov. Cooper’s greater relative visibility and above water approval ratings, this result is not a great surprise this early in the election cycle,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “However, both campaigns should be wary of what the crosstab tea leaves show. This race could be very close, and both candidates could easily take crossover votes from the other’s party.”

Likely voters were also asked about whether they approve or disapprove of the job Cooper is doing as governor. Fifty-three percent said they approved, while 34 percent disapproved. This result is a slight decline in approval from May (56 percent) and March (58 percent). There was also a 5 percent increase in disapproval. In both the May and March polls, 29 percent of likely voters disapproved of the governor’s job performance.

Gov. Cooper receives the highest approval ratings from baby boomers (65 percent) and the lowest from Gen Z and younger millennials (45 percent). Another interesting finding in this particular poll question was what unaffiliated voters, our state’s fastest-growing bloc thought of the governor’s job performance. Fifty-one percent voiced their approval, while 35 percent disapproved, and 13 percent were unsure or refused.


The second from Democratic-leaning pollster, Public Policy Polling:

We also find a close race for Governor, with Roy Cooper leading Dan Forest 45-41. This represents a significant tightening from PPP’s last poll of the race in January when Cooper led 47-35. The movement since then is due to Forest consolidating his support among Republican leaning voters. On the January poll Forest’s advantage among Trump voters was 62-18, but now it’s 76-9. It’s worth noting that this is a much closer finding than two other recently released polls- a Civitas poll conducted by Harper Polling recently found Cooper ahead 47-37 and an Emerson College poll found Cooper ahead 52-38. Forest is also widely expected to draw a primary challenge from State Representative Holly Grange.

Voters are closely divided on Cooper’s job performance, with 40% approving and 41% disapproving of the job he’s doing. He fares well compared to the General Assembly though which only 25% of voters approve of to 45% who disapprove. If voters had to choose between Cooper or either of the Republican legislative leaders running the state they’d take Cooper over Phil Berger 46-39 and over Tim Moore 46-38.

Things haven’t changed much since November when it comes to the landscape for General Assembly races. Democrats won the statewide legislative vote last year by 2 points, and they continue to hold a 2 point lead on the generic legislative ballot at 45-43. It’s a very evenly divided state and the numbers we find right now for President, Governor, and the General Assembly are all reflective of that.

No matter which poll you choose to believe, North Carolina is going to be one of the hottest and contested states next year. We already have a big special election with Dan McCready (D. NC-09) getting a shot to overcome the GOP’s election fraud and defeat infamous bathroom bill author, Dan Bishop (R. NC-09). Also, Democrats are lining up to take on the vulnerable U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R. NC). So let’s make sure North Carolina Democrats are ready to go. Click below to donate and get involved with Cooper and his fellow Tar Hell Democrats’ campaigns:

Roy Cooper for Governor

Dan McCready for Congress

Josh Stein for Attorney General

Cal Cunningham for U.S. Senate

Eric Mansfield for U.S. Senate

Erica Smith for U.S. Senate

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