The political environment is tough for Republicans in North Carolina right now. At the national level, Donald Trump is scaring the world with reckless tweets about nuclear war with North Korea and the Republican Congress can’t seem to pass any significant legislation. Now, a poll shows that Republicans in the General Assembly are unpopular and the public is not happy with at least some of their actions.
Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling says that only 18% of North Carolinians have a favorable view of the legislature. Fifty-five percent say they have a negative view of the Republican majority while only 32% view them favorably. On the generic legislative ballot, voters prefer a Democrat by six points.
Of elected officials, only Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has a favorable image. Respondents give him a 15-point positive rating, 48% to 33%. The top elected Republicans, US Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, are both upside down. Voters like Burr a little more. His approval rating is 34 positive, 42% negative. Tillis is only 28% positive with 45% holding an unfavorable opinion of him. And fully half of the people have an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump while only 44% view him favorably.
Republicans in the legislature have also offered Democrats ammunition for 2018. Sixty-percent of the respondents disapprove of cutting the Attorney General’s budget by $10 million and almost as many, 59%, say the cuts will make us less safe. Significantly, a plurality, 46% believe the cuts were made for political reasons. That’s a powerful message: Republicans made our families less safe purely to score political points. It’s easily digestible, believable and substantiated.
Republicans start the 2018 election cycle in tough shape. Donald Trump is losing popularity. The Republican legislature is highly unpopular. Republicans are willing to put their political interests ahead of the safety of families. And Roy Cooper, the face of the North Carolina Democratic Party, came out of his first legislative session with 15% positive approval rating.