Breaching the GOP firewall

by | Aug 24, 2018 | 2018 elections, North Carolina, Polling

Civitas has another poll out showing the precarious situation facing Republicans in the fall. Their poll of unaffiliated voters shows them breaking heavily for Democrats in November. The poll tries to imply that support for constitutional amendments could mitigate that outcome, but that’s not going to happen.

According the poll, unaffiliated voters have a pessimistic view of our government despite an optimistic view of the economy. By twelve point margins, they think the state and nation are heading in the wrong direction while a little over half think the economy is getting better. Clearly, this year, “It’s the economy, stupid” doesn’t work. That dissatisfaction is not with their personal situations but with the people running our government, otherwise known as incumbents.

In the generic legislative ballot, Democrats hold a six point advantage. Almost thirty percent are undecided but that’s probably bad news, again, for incumbents. Undecided voters who are clearly not optimistic about the direction of our state and nation will probably break for challengers. It’s a change election.

In the race for Congress, Democrats have a three point advantage on the generic ballot with 25% undecided. Undecided voters will need to break hard for Democrats to overcome the gerrymandering in most districts, but it’s certainly possible, especially as the political environment deteriorates for Republicans.

In the races for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, Democrats should be thanking Republicans for making them partisan again. Democrats lead among unaffiliated voters by three points in those generic ballots. Statewide, Democrats are far more enthusiastic about voting and hold a significant advantage in registration. In these low profile races, the Democrats will benefit disproportionally from the bad political environment facing the GOP.

Among personalities, Donald Trump is underwater by six points while Roy Cooper has a favorability rating that’s more than 20 points to the good. And this poll was taken largely before this past week’s convictions. The president could prove to be a major drag on the ticket while Cooper can help Democrats up and down the ballot.

The constitutional amendments are very popular but they aren’t driving anybody to the polls and they aren’t influencing anybody’s vote. Someone who feels strongly one way or the other about those amendments, knows how s/he is going to vote anyhow. They’ll have very little impact on the contested races.

This poll should have Republican heading for the bunker instead of heading for Jones Street. As they go into special session for the umpteenth time this year, they’re just reminding dissatisfied voters why they hate the politicians in charge. If those undecided unaffiliated voters break hard for the Democrats, they’ll test the GOP’s gerrymandered firewall.


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