Another poll shows Republicans struggling in North Carolina. The new NBC/Marist poll has Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden by seven, Cunningham leading Tillis by nine, and Roy Cooper over Dan Forest by a whopping 20 points. While the gap will close before November, these numbers would indicate that coattails could sweep in a lot of down ballot Democrats. The GOP certainly should be concerned about holding the legislature and could face more losses in Congress.
Voters don’t like the way Donald Trump is handling his job. By a 14 point margin, 55-41, voters say they disapprove of the job Trump is doing, including 43% who strongly disagree. In stark contrast, voters strongly approve of the job that Roy Cooper is doing. His approval rating, 59% approve, 35% disapprove, shows momentum heading into the final three months of the election.
The numbers seem to be driven by Trump’s failure to address the two most pressing issues of the day in any meaningful way and the GOP’s complicity in that failure. Voters prefer Biden to handle the coronavirus by a 17 point margin, 51% to 34%. They believe he will do a better job on race relations by a 22 point margin. The only place Trump has an advantage is with the economy. Voters trust him more than Biden by 13 points.
The same impulses probably buoy Cooper. He has appeared competent and thoughtful in his approach to the virus while Trump has looked petty and chaotic. Cooper has urged people to wear masks, wash hands, and social distance. The right has attacked him for violating the constitution, overacting to the pandemic, and killing our economy. However, most people approve of his approach. They sided with Cooper over Trump by 30 points in the controversy over whether the Republican National Convention should be held without restrictions.
As for Tillis, he can’t overcome his own messes. He’s tried changing his spots so much that nobody likes him. When he was scared of a primary, he was Trump’s biggest supporter after being a minor occasional critic. Now, he’s distancing himself from the president again. In contrast, Cunningham is running a solid, if cautious, campaign and letting Tillis continue to get in his own way.
The whole political landscape could change before November, but right now, Democrats are dominant in the state. They lead in the top three races which would likely lead to big wins down the ballot, too. If the unrest in cities continues and we get the virus under control, then Trump may emerge as the savior. On the other hand, if virus continues to spread and deaths continue to increase, then he will get the blame and the political environment could get even worse for the GOP.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >