Under the Dome

Morning Memo: McCrory's approval slides, Congressman Price prominent on guns

MORNING MEMO EXCLUSIVE: GOV. McCRORY'S POLL NUMBERS SLIP. A new Public Policy Polling survey finds the new Republican governor's approval ratings at 45 percent to start his first term, down eight points from a month ago. The new poll -- set for release later Wednesday -- suggests his cabinet picks may have pulled his popularity downward. Among those who know, 31 percent approve of his cabinet and 24 percent disapprove. Likewise, more people disapprove of McCrory's controversial picks Art Pope and Tony Tata than approve, though most people aren't sure about the two.

MORE PEOPLE UNSURE: The Raleigh-based Democratic polling firm found Republicans approve 73 percent to 6 percent, independents split 43 to 23 and Democrats even at 26 percent. All the numbers are lower than the previous month, with those people unsure what to think about McCrory on the rise. The falling numbers put his approval rate at the start of his term in the neighborhood of his Democratic predecessor, Gov. Bev Perdue. Four years ago, she started with an approval rating at 43 percent.

***This is the Dome Morning Memo -- the source for breaking news, analysis and a daily news digest for North Carolina politics.

OBAMA STARTS SECOND TERM WITH LESS SUPPORT IN N.C.: President Barack Obama won North Carolina four years ago and started his term with a 52 percent approval rating. Four years later, after losing the state in the election, 52 percent disapprove of him, the new PPP poll found. His approval rating in the state to start his second term is 46 percent. Only 3 percent are undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent.

CONGRESSMAN PRICE TO JOIN IN OBAMA GUNS ANNOUNCEMENT: President Obama will announce gun control measures at noon at the White House with U.S. Rep. David Price at his side. The Democrat, who represents Durham and Chapel Hill, is vice chairman of the party's gun violence prevention task force in the House. “I am pleased the President will be offering concrete proposals to reduce gun violence and strengthen laws that keep deadly weapons out of the wrong hands," he said in a statement ahead of the announcement.

PRICE WANTS ASSAULT WEAPONS OFF STREET: More from his statement: "While I am open to various proposals, I believe we must deal with the instruments of destruction that too often turn hostile encounters into deadly ones. We must enforce and strengthen our current laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others prone to violence. We must shore up mental health services and outreach, especially to troubled young people. We must remove from our streets military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines whose only function is to mow people down. North Carolinians have a right to expect that they will be free from harm in their communities and their children will be safe in their schools. We have a moral responsibility to make their expectation a reality.”

PERDUE STILL SITS ON $1 MILLION IN CAMPAIGN CASH: The Associated Press reports that Perdue's campaign still had more than $1 million a few days before she left office. She spent $46,000 from late October through Dec. 31. Perdue did not run for re-election in 2012. Perdue's report that the board received Monday said she gave $4,000 each to fellow Democrat Walter Dalton's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign and Linda Coleman's legal fund as Coleman closely examined ballots in her narrow loss to Dan Forest for lieutenant governor. A Perdue spokesman has said she intends to use some funds to produce papers about her time in office. The committee owes Perdue and her husband $776,000.

WILL McCRORY SUPPORT HIGHER TAX in his hometown for stadium renovations? The Charlotte City Council endorsed a plan to give the Carolina Panthers $125 million in public money for upgrades by increasing a 1 percent tax on prepared food and beverages to 2 percent. The proposal still needs approval from the legislature and McCrory.

McCRORY BUDDY MARK SANFORD TO RUN FOR CONGRESS: Former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford is making his bid for Congress official, The State reports. Sanford attended McCrory's Election Night party in Charlotte and they both serve on the board of directors.

DMV STRIPS IMMIGRANTS' LICENSES:Young illegal immigrants who stepped out of the shadows to win a two-year reprieve from deportation under a fledgling federal program got dark news this week from the state Division of Motor Vehicles. The state agency that grants driving privileges sent letters out to immigrants in the program who had received driver’s licenses that their privileges were being revoked.

The letter from DMV, dated Friday, included the names of Gov. Pat McCrory and his new transportation secretary Tony Tata. The name of Joseph Eric Boyette, a DMV commissioner, was listed as the sender of the news. “Effective immediately, your North Carolina driving privilege has been cancelled ... due to not providing acceptable immigration documentation,” the letter stated. “Upon obtaining valid unexpired immigration documents that reflect lawful presence in the United States, you may reapply for a North Carolina driver license or administration card.”

N.C. WOMAN IS A LEADING ADVOCATE AGAINST GUNS:Abby Spangler, the daughter of former UNC system President C.D. Spangler, started her Protest Easy Guns movement lying down in front of a Virginia city hall shortly after the Virginia Tech mass killings. Since then, the former Charlotte resident has been standing up for tighter gun controls while building a national movement that has taken her from a hastily organized sidewalk protest to the congressional halls of power. Full story here.

PERSONNEL FILE: A belated welcome to Patrick Gannon, who joined The Insider this week. Gannon previously worked as the statehouse correspondent for the Wilmington Star-News. At the Insider -- a publication of The News & Observer -- he will report news from the General Assembly and help launch a new mobile app later this spring.


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Bad cabinet choices -- and then he gave them raises

As always, the GOP overreached: first McCrory makes some horrific cabinet choices -- people woefully untrained and inexperienced in what they have been chosen to do -- and then he gives them pay raises. This while warning people huge budget cuts are coming because of fiscal problems.

I'm not surprised his numbers are down. I am surprised McCrory did as well as he did in the polls: chalk it up to people who are not payng attention.

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