GOP Leads Generic Legislative Ballot

by | Jun 19, 2014 | Carolina Strategic Analysis, Democrats, Features, Moral Monday, NCGA, NCGOP, Poll Analysis, Polling | 6 comments

For well over a year now, we’ve been hearing about how the GOP-controlled legislature here in North Carolina is extremely unpopular. That people are outraged. That Republicans are headed for massive losses in 2014, despite their viciously gerrymandered districts.

Well, it appears someone forgot to tell the voters. Despite being raked over the coals on teacher pay, coal ash spills, fracking, horribly racist voter ID laws, tax cuts for the wealthy, ending unemployment benefits, and restrictions on abortions, PPP finds Republicans still lead the generic legislative ballot. What’s going on here? There’s been over a year’s worth of Moral Mondays, excessively covered by a fawning media, and according to a Democratic pollster, public opinion hasn’t changed one iota from 2012.

In fact, 2014 could be shaping up to be a better year for Republicans than 2012. Consider: this is a registered voter poll. Likely voters will probably be older, more traditional, more Republican. We don’t know how much more Republican, but registered voters polls at this point are probably overly rosy for Democrats. In 2012, the GOP just barely won the popular vote for the General Assembly. Filter for likely voters, and the electorate becomes more favorable to the GOP. That’s right: after an aggressively conservative legislative session, far from being punished for their excesses, Republicans could build on their support from 2012.

Progressives: are you depressed yet?

The problem is that while Republican legislators are unpopular (35% favorable, 47% unfavorable), their Democratic counterparts are even more unpopular (32% favorable, 50% unfavorable). Even in the Triangle, the most liberal part of the state, voters give Democrats a negative rating. That’s counterintuitive: after all the “damage” the GOP has done to NC, why do voters still prefer them over Democrats, who are out of power?

I can think of a couple reasons. It could be that unpopularity of national Democrats is trickling down and affecting state-level Democrats. For people who pay attention to politics, that explanation might not make sense, but I think it’s the most plausible explanation. It could also be that voters continue to associate NC Democrats with scandals from the past. That’s possible, too.

Or it could be a reaction against the Moral Monday protests. From my Republican vantage point, so much of Democratic attacks on new GOP laws seems like whining coming from losers. I have no idea if that’s how most voters feel, but they might. Maybe instead of getting behind the over-the-top rhetoric of William Barber, they should stop whining and propose constructive alternatives to Republican policies, and maybe even work with the GOP leadership to get things done?

Regardless, Democrats need to do some soul-searching and figure out why they continue to be so unpopular, why they can’t win the battle of public opinion when everything is stacked in their favor. They can’t just blame gerrymandering, because that’s not it. It’s something else, and they need to find out what it is if they ever hope to take back the reins of power from the GOP.


  1. larry

    Yeah John, that must be it…that negative national Democrat thing trickling down….right. Have you seen the national polls John? I have read with hysterical laughter your post over the past couple of weeks. I am not at all sure where you get some of the stuff you write…has to be Civitas or the many Koch group or maybe Rience is your BFF but you are delusional at best .
    As to PPP poll I suspect that the respondents are like me sick of politics in this State. The Democrats could not organize a fire drill and the Republicans are despicable in what they pass off as governing.
    What will it take to end this crap…maybe the legislature..your legislature passing a bill that forces Duke to clean up the coal ash mess and then allows Duke to bill the consumers of this
    State along with those nifty sales tax .Wake up then. No probably not but no worries we can pay for EVERYTHING with the lottery money. After all North Carolina is the State that elected and re-lected Jesse Helms to represent it in the US Senate for couple decades.

  2. Keith

    You are kidding about Ds in the GA working with Rs in a productive fashion…right? I like the idea of proposing alternatives, but the GA leadership has effectively squelched debate and used other procedural tools on bill after bill to ensure that they do not have to publicly be held to account for refuting reasonable alternatives presented by the Ds. Further, if the Rs in the GA are comfortable thumbing their nose (routinely) at a governor from their own party, why would they care what Ds think on unimportant things like, I don’t know…the laws of the land?

  3. Mick

    John, really now, tell us what you’re smoking?

    The jump point for your article is, in your own words, this: “For well over a year now, we’ve been hearing about how……..Republicans are headed for massive losses in 2014, despite their viciously gerrymandered districts.”

    Really? I have not seen a single story by any reporter or even any passionate Democrat reflecting such a forecast.

    Look, I am against just about everything the GOP has foisted on the state of NC since 2010, but I am also lucid (I think) and realist. And given that it’s a midterm election; that the POTUS is more unpopular than popular; that voting districts have been twisted and turned to keep Republican representatives in office; and that the average voter does not follow issues nor politicians with great scrutiny, I foresee no great reversal in recent GOP or Dem election fortunes this fall.

    If you had chosen (or were able) to make the same reasoned assessment, you would not have painted such an inaccurate picture in your lead paragraph on what the great consensus of sane observers have been saying about the likely results of this year’s elections.

    In my own view, with so going much against them timing and gerrymander-wise, the Dems will be very lucky to gain a few seats in the House and Senate. If that happens, and if Hagan keeps her Senate seat, it will be a good election season for them.

    I’ll add that I believe Dem steam will pick up thereafter. I believe that further erosion of the GOP NCGA majorities will transpire in 2016, 2018 and 2020, and that McCrory will be a one-termer (unless something as freakish as his stepping down or his own party not nominating him happens), giving the state a new Dem governor (as well as a new Dem POTUS) in 2016. And perhaps the GOP NCGA super-majority will be gone by then, making the governor’s veto power real.

  4. john

    Why would progressives be depressed? 43-41 is hardly a huge margin with 16% unsure. All issues questions are against the NCGA positions: 51-33 support teacher tenure, 41-29 support the film tax credit and 32-25 oppose the privilege license ban. Also, even with a majority (52%) having no opinion of Roy Cooper yet, McCrory only leads 44-42.

  5. dennisberwyn

    Hear Hear!

  6. Ray

    People are waking up to how Ds and Rs are just two wings of the same party. The D&R shares of voter registration are both at record lows, while the Libertarian and Unaffiliated percentages are at record highs. I presume the only reason people still usually vote for one of you two is because you usually don’t let them vote for anyone else.

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