(RALEIGH) – The latest from Raleigh based Public Policy Polling finds Republican Pat McCrory's lead in the Governor's race holding steady. He's at 47% to 37% for Democrat Walter Dalton with Libertarian Barbara Howe at 5%. Those numbers are exactly identical to what they were two weeks ago.
The poll was released prior to the latest debate between McCrory and Dalton in Durham County Tuesday night.
McCrory continues to be the most popular politician in the state, with a 47/31 favorability rating. Those numbers are far better than the sitting Governor or either Senator has. McCrory leads by a greater than 2:1 margin among independents, 52-25. He's also taking 18% of the Democratic vote from Dalton while losing just 7% of Republicans.
Incumbents in the other Council of State races appear to be favored for reelection right now, although some of those contests are pretty close. Auditor Beth Wood leads Republican challenger Debra Goldman 40-36 and Treasurer Janet Cowell leads her GOP foe Steve Royal 41-36. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler looks like a shoo in for reelection with 45% to 35% for Democratic challenger Walter Smith.
The closest statewide race could end up being the open seat contest for Lieutenant Governor. There Republican Dan Forest leads Democrat Linda Coleman 38-37. This is the fourth PPP poll of the contest, and all four of them have found the candidates within two points of each other. It's likely to be an extremely close contest.
In the North Carolina Supreme Court race Sam Ervin IV continues to lead with 32% to 24% for incumbent Paul Newby. But the main story in the nonpartisan race is the undecideds- 44% of voters are undecided without having party cues to rely on.
The picture surrounding the North Carolina General Assembly is very similar to two weeks ago. The Legislature is quite unpopular, with a 17% approval rating to 49% of voters who disapprove of them. But voters seem to be blaming the parties pretty equally for their unhappiness with the body despite the GOP being in charge, giving both the Democrats (36/44) and Republicans (34/47) negative favorability ratings. Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 45/43, a massive shift from 2010 when the GOP was up by 11 points on that measure. But under the new districting lines Democrats would need to win by more than that to get a majority in either chamber.
North Carolina looks like it could be in the national spotlight again in 2014, at least at this early stage. Kay Hagan leads a hypothetical Republican opponent only 45-41, suggesting this could be a top tier Senate race in what should be a closely fought battle for control of the body. And Richard Burr continues to be one of the most low profile Senators in the country- 29% of voters approve of him, 28% disapprove, and 43% don't have an opinion either way.