As the state President Obama lost by the smallest margin in 2012, North Carolina is as good a place as any for closely monitoring the temperature of public opinion on political issues. What makes NC even more interesting, however, is that voters are apparently beginning to oppose wingnut polices in impressive numbers. As Tom Jensen explains in his Public Policy Polling post, “NC voters oppose many GOP proposals“:
The Republicans as a whole are getting poor marks for their leadership over state government though- 38% of voters approve of the job they’re doing to 52% who disapprove. That’s largely a function of the legislature. Republicans legislators have a 34/53 favorability rating, and the General Assembly as a whole has just a 20% approval with 56% of voters disapproving of it.
A whole bevy of bills introduced by Republican legislators recently are proving to be quite unpopular:
-Only 25% of voters support a proposal to forbid parents from claiming college students registered to vote away from home as dependents on their state taxes, compared to 57% who are opposed. This is another one where the Republican legislators supporting the measure are out of touch with actual Republican voters- only 26% support it with 56% opposed, not that different from the numbers among Democrats which are 22% supportive and 61% opposed.
-Just 33% of voters support cutting the early voting period by a week, while 59% are opposed. Republicans do narrowly support this idea (51/42), but Democrats (22/70) and independents (28/62) are heavily opposed to it.
-Only 22% of voters support eliminating the state’s renewable energy standards, while 39% are against that idea. Republican voters (29/25) only narrowly support eliminating the standard while Democrats (13/47) and independents (28/41) are pretty firmly against it.
-Only 28% of voters support a proposal to make it a crime for law enforcement officers to enforce federal gun laws on North Carolina manufactured fire arms, while 42% are opposed. Democrats (33/41), Republicans (24/41), and independents (26/46) all think that one’s a bad idea.
-The only high profile Republican initiative we polled that has much traction with voters is the one to make Christianity the official state religion. 42% support that to 45% who are opposed and while much of that support is because a majority of Republicans favor it (53/33) it actually has 41% support from Democrats too, much more appeal across party lines than any of these other proposals. Despite the decent level of support for Christianity as the state religion, only 16% of voters agree with the state legislator who labeled a prayer to Allah as an act of terrorism last week, although that does go up to 25% among Republicans.
Despite all of the recent coverage about wingnut legislative proposals in NC, the political drift of the state’s voters is generally center-left. As Jensen adds, “…Democrats have a 45-41 lead on the generic legislative ballot…On another front it looks like North Carolina’s swing state status is likely to continue in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for President. She leads Marco Rubio 49/42 and Rand Paul 52/40 in hypothetical match ups in the state.”
What NC Democrats may need more than anything to build on the goodwill edge they have with voters at present is money. NC conservative causes are lavishly funded by the state’s Republican sugar daddy Art Pope and other corporate minions. Dems who live in solidly blue states who want to contribute to strengthening the NC Democratic party can do so right here.