Another poll is out showing North Carolina to be a highly competitive state. PPP released a poll showing Donald Trump slightly underwater and Roy Cooper in an uncomfortably tight race for re-election. It’s the second poll this week illustrating the competitiveness of the state.

The PPP poll shows Donald Trump with a job approval rating of -3, with 46 approving, 49 disapproving. It also shows him in a dead heat in head-to-heads with number of presidential contenders. He trails Joe Biden 49-46 and Bernie Sanders 48-47. He leads Kamala Harris by one, 47-46, Elizabeth Warren by two, 48-46, and Pete Buttigieg by three, 47-44. All of these are within the margin of error. They show a tight race and highlight the weakness of the president more than the strength of the Democratic field. 

The surprise in the poll comes in Governor Roy Cooper’s apparent weakness. Cooper is underwater by one point with 40% approving and 41% disapproving. In contrast, Dan Forest, though largely unknown, has a +6 favorability rating, 23-17. In the head-to-head with Forest, Cooper only leads by four in a poll with a margin of error of four. 

The numbers contrast sharply with the Civitas poll released earlier this week. That poll showed Cooper with solid approval numbers and leading Forest by ten points. In PPP’s January poll, Cooper led Forest by 12 points. In his analysis, PPP’s Dean Debnam says the movement is the result of Forest consolidating GOP support. The poll could also be an outlier. We’ll need another one to find out. 

The poll also shows the legislature is still unpopular. Only 25% approve of the job they’re doing while 45% disapprove. Voters seem to blame both parties equally since both are unpopular. Democrats have a very slight but statistically insignificant lead in the generic ballot, 45-43. Nobody is going to run away with legislative elections next year unless something dramatic happens. With gerrymandering, Republicans can likely withstand a much larger Democratic advantage and still keep control of the legislature.

Like the Civitas poll, PPP shows a large gender gap. Women disapprove of Trump by 12 points while men approve of him by seven points. Women also keep the presidential head-to-heads tight, supporting every Democratic candidate by at least six points and as much as nine. They also give Cooper a 16 point lead over Forest while men support Forest by eleven. Democrats’ success in 2020 will lie significantly with the size of the turnout among women. 

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