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In new Democratic polling, some state lawmakers looking vulnerable

The upheaval from the legislative session continues to reverberate as lawmakers look at what it did for their prospects in 2014. Voters are wavering, Republicans are openly discussing a course-correction next year and the N.C. Democratic Party is trying to capitalize. And now, it's showing in legislative district polls.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in Raleigh, recently looked at eight state Senate districts held by Republicans, finding two leaning Democrat and six more in the toss-up category. PPP pollster Tom Jensen writes that "the political landscape has shifted in such a way that Democrats have a lot more opportunities to eat into the Republican majority next year than could have ever been imagined even six months ago."


High Point University poll shows McCrory's approval falling 10 points

Gov. Pat McCrory's approval rating declined 10 points in six months, according to the latest High Point University poll released Monday.

The HPU poll found North Carolina resident put the Republican's approval rating at 39 percent -- equal to President Barack Obama. Another 42 percent disapprove of McCrory's handling of his job -- a 17 percent increase from six months ago -- with 19 percent unsure, HPU found. The poll, which has an approval rating of plus-or-minus 5 percent -- did not screen for registered voters or likely voters.

Morning Memo: Mark Harris jumbles U.S. Senate race

SHOT ACROSS THE BOW? HARRIS STARTS SENATE CAMPAIGN: Rev. Mark Harris, who would be a first-time candidate, plans to appeal to conservative voters who share his values."My challenge will be to stay on that message," he said. "I don’t have to get up in the morning to read the newspaper to figure out what I believe (or) see the latest poll to see what I should believe …"

***Read more on Harris' campaign and analysis from Washington on the state's important 2014 Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Who's ready for 2016? PPP poll puts Democrats ahead of McCrory

Less than a year into Gov. Pat McCrory's term, a new Democratic poll indicates that voters are looking for an alternative.

Public Policy Polling -- a Raleigh firm never shy about looking far ahead to the next hypothetical political contest -- tested the Republican governor against four Democrats and found the challengers all held an edge, though ever-so-slightly in certain cases.

Attorney General Roy Cooper shows the best in a potential 2016 matchup, topping McCrory by 6 percentage points. State Treasurer Janet Cowell, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and state Sen. Josh Stein all edge the governor but within the margin of error. (From PPP: McCrory's down 48/42 to Cooper, 47/43 to Cowell, 45/42 to Meeker, and 44/42 to Stein.) The Sept. 6-9 poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percent.

McCrory's polling numbers continue to decline

Gov. Pat McCrory's poll numbers are continuing to decline and he is by some accounts, among the nation's least popular governors.

McCrory's approval rating has tumbled from 39 percent in August to 35 percent in September, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh. The survey results were aired Tuesday night on Capital Tonight on News 14.

If those ratings are accurate, McCrory is now in the cellar among the nation's governors. A survey published by The New York Times in May showed Lincoln Chafee, an independent of Rhode Island at a 26 percent approval rating, Democrat Pat Quinn of Illinois at 33 percent, Republican Rick Scott of Florida at 35 percent, and Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas at 36 percent.

A foundation with close ties to McCrory began running a TV campaign on Tuesday which features the governor talking about his accomplishments since taking office in January.

Poll: Send members of Congress to Syria

More than half of North Carolina residents are for deploying Americans to Syria -- all 535 members of Congress, according to a new poll.

Fifty-one percent support deploying members of Congress to Syria, while 31 percent oppose, and 18 percent are not certain, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

While some of the younger members of the delegation maybe in shape for deployment, such as Rep. Richard Hudson, and work-out master Sen. Richard Burr, Dome is not sure about the rest of the delegation.

The poll of 600 North Carolina voters was conducted Sept. 6-9.

GOP Senate field is wide open

The Republican Senate field is very unsettled as Senate leader Phil Berger weighs getting into the race, according to a new poll.

Most Republicans(43 percent) say they have not yet made up their mind, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

Berger has the support of 13 percent, followed by House Speaker Thom Tillis with 12 percent, and former U.S. Ambassador Jim Cain with 11 percent. Other candidates or potential candidates include Heather Grant(8 percent), Mark Harris(7 percent) Greg Brannon(6 percent) and Lynn Wheeler(6 percent.)

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan would defeat Berger by a 53-36 percent margin and would defeat Tillis by a 51-36 percent margin.

Hagan has an approval rating of 43 percent -- considered low for an incumbent -- and a disapproval rating of 39 percent with 18 percent uncertain.

Most people(57 percent) have never heard of Berger. His favorable rating is 10 percent and his unfavorable rating is 33 percent. For Tillis, 14 percent have a favorable opinion, 32 percent unfavorable, with 54 percent having never heard of him.

The poll of 600 likely voters was taken Sept. 6-9. The margin of error was 4 percent overall and for the GOP portion was 5.6 percent.

North Carolina national image taking a beating

North Carolina's national image has slipped with all the negative publicity surrounding its sharp turn to the right, according to new survey.

Two years ago, North Carolina was regarded among the ten most popular states in the country, with 40 percent of voters rating it favorably to only 11 percent having a negative opinion, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm based in Raleigh.

But a new national poll by the firm has found that its favorable rating has dropped from 40 percent to 30 percent, while those viewing it unfavorably has gone from 11 percent to 23 percent.

The state's national image has been particularly damaged among African Americans who had a 42/8 favorable/unfavorable rating and now hold a 19/30 favorable/unfavorable rating and among Hispanics, who had viewed it positively 50/9 and now view it 20/39 favorable/unfavorable. There has also been a drop off among women who went from a 32 percent net favorabiity rating to a net 3 percent rating.

Democrats view of North Carolina dropped from 35/17 to 18/38, while Republicans dropped slightly from 48/6 to 41/13.

"We've found month after month in our polling that North Carolinians are unhappy with what's happened to their state tho shear," said Dean Debnam, the polling firm's president. "What we're seeing now is that the rest of the country is pretty unhappy with it too.''

The survey of 803 registered voters between August 26-28 had a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

PPP: Chilton, Foushee top crowded field to replace Kinnaird

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and state Rep. Valerie Foushee are the top choices in a crowded field of candidates who want to replace nine-term Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, according to an early assessment of the race.

That’s not surprising, given Chilton and Foushee have the greatest name recognition in the district, which includes Chatham and Orange counties.

Chilton was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1991, before moving to Carrboro and running for office there. Foushee, who was elected to the House last year, has been on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education and the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

The Public Policy Polling survey found 36 percent of voters in Senate District 23 said Chilton would be one of their top two choices, and 28 percent put Foushee in their top two.

McCrory's camp releases internal poll showing governor's approval at 48%

UPDATED: Pat McCrory's camp released internal poll numbers Wednesday showing his job approval rating at 48 percent -- a move designed to counter a different poll that shows the governor's stock declining.

The poll commissioned by Renew North Carolina Foundation, a private nonprofit extended from McCrory's 2012 campaign, gives the Republican governor a 26-point positive approval margin, with just 22 percent disapproving. His favorability rating is essentially the same at 49 favorable to 22 percent unfavorable, according to a portion of the poll released first to Dome. Another 29 percent were unsure. The margin of error for the poll is plus-or-minus 3.5 percent.

Earlier Wednesday, a new survey from Public Policy Polling showed McCrory's job approval rating at 39 percent with 51 percent disapproving -- his lowest numbers of his term and part of a sustained decline since he took office at the start of the year. The margin of error is 4 percent.

The poll asked the same question but the different numbers are likely attributed to methodology.

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