Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling released a poll that showed some ugly numbers for Republicans. It showed Pat McCrory’s favorability falling sharply and the approval of the General Assembly in the tank. And while people aren’t thrilled with either party in the legislature, they like Republicans less.
The most startling numbers, and those most worrisome for Republicans, are in the crosstabs. There is a huge gender gap in the state and women have big problems the GOP. The numbers also show that men and women have substantially different views of even more esoteric matters like how the state is viewed nationally.
For the Republican-led government, support from women is in the basement. Only 25% of women approve of the way the GOP is governing the state, while 63% disapprove. For men, the approval rate is split 46%-47%.
McCrory fares better (32% approve, 54% disapprove) with women than the Republicans in the legislature (28%-60%), but his numbers are still upside down by 22 points. Men, on the other hand, view McCrory and the GOP legislators the same, giving them both an approval rating of 49%-42%. The 60% disapproval rate shows women’s intensity around the issues is greater than the men’s more subdued reaction.
The most interesting numbers to me, though, are the perception issues. A majority of women, by a 51% to 27% margin, think the General Assembly is causing the state national embarrassment. Men? Not so much. Forty-seven percent say it’s not, while 40% say it is.
And woman are with the protesters. By a whopping 23% (53%-30%) women see the protesters favorably while men have a different view, with half seeing them unfavorably. And women prefer the protesters over the legislators by a 20 point margin (52%-32%) while men prefer legislators by 10 points (51%-41%).
The gender gap in North Carolina is alive and well and favoring Democrats. Women make up almost 10% more of the electorate than men, so if Republicans want to stay in power, they need to figure out how to fix that. They’ve certainly hurt themselves with the abortion debacle and I imagine women are going to be even more discouraged when the cuts to education sink in.
If Thom Tillis is the GOP nominee for Senate, this gap could doom his chances. He can’t run away from his position as Speaker and the intensity with which women oppose the legislature must be unsettling for him. He’s got a year to figure it out, but if he can’t, his coalition is down to white men and that’s no coalition at all.
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 >