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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."



Document(s):
PPPSenate.pdf

Morning Memo: Another DHHS hire raises questions; FEC chides Tillis camp

ANOTHER HIRE RAISES QUESTIONS AT DHHS -- Unadvertised job goes to former tea party member: The state Department of Health and Human Services has filled a newly created $95,000 senior planner position with a Greenville woman who was a medical school lecturer for three years but who has been absent from the health care labor force since 2002.

Margaret "Mardy" Peal, 42, has been hired as part of the "Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina," Gov. Pat McCrory’s initiative to allow private insurance companies to run the government’s health care program for the poor in North Carolina.

Peal gave $1,250 to the McCrory campaign in 2012. She helped organize the Eastern North Carolina Tea Party in 2010. The job was not posted, which prevented others from applying. Department officials declined to provide a job description or list Peal’s duties. Read more here.

***More on Peal and news from the U.S. Senate race below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Poll shows strong support for photo ID, less for other parts of new elections law

A new High Point University poll released Tuesday shows overwhelming support for the requirement that voters show government-issued photo identification, as required by the new state law. Nearly three-fourths support it.

But it also finds support drops off considerably for some of the other provisions in the law: 56 percent disapprove of eliminating same-day registration, and 55 percent disapprove of shortening early-voting days from 17 to 10.

The survey of 408 residents with standard telephones or cell phones covered all 100 counties, and has a margin of error of 5 percent. The poll was taken by interviewers between Sept. 8-12. Most of the participants were registered voters.

The results are similar to what other polls have found so far this year, as the issue was debated in the General Assembly.

Here's where you can find the poll.

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.

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.

Morning Memo: McCrory's approval slips again, as he defends voter ID and prepares veto pen

ALERT: PAT McCRORY'S APPROVAL RATING FALLS TO 39 PERCENT A new Public Policy Polling survey set for release later Thursday shows the Republican governor's approval rating dipping to the 30s for the first time in his term. It's a slight slip from a month earlier but indicates his approval rating is not improving as he signs controversial legislation on abortion, voter ID and guns. The Raleigh-based Democratic firm found McCrory's approval at 39 percent and disapproval at 51 percent. Another 10 percent are unsure. The numbers represent a huge point slide from when he took office in January with a 45 percent approval and 19 percent disapproval rating.

Another number in the poll suggests half of voters believe he broke his campaign pledge on abortion. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Check Dome later today for more numbers.

NEW YORK TIMES A1 HEADLINE: North Carolinians fear the end of a middle way: The story rehashes the rightward shift from the legislative session and focuses on Pat McCrory's tough spot. Campbell Robertson writes: "In an interview, Mr. McCrory said that critics had obscured what he called a pragmatic and fiscally responsible agenda. “It’s a combination of people on the two extremes wanting to bring up and exaggerate controversial issues,” he said, adding that he had pushed back against earlier versions of the abortion and tax bills, and was planning to veto other bills this week." Read the full story here.

***The governor keeps threatening a veto. Find out the likely target below in the Dome Morning Memo. And get his thoughts on the voter ID bill.***

1376508601 Morning Memo: McCrory's approval slips again, as he defends voter ID and prepares veto pen The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

GOP poll finds NC voters divided on Hagan

A new state-wide poll by a GOP firm shows that North Carolina voters are evenly split on Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

The survey found 41.4 percent supporter her reelection, 42.6 percent felt it was time five a new person a chance, according to a poll by Magellan Strategies, Baton Rouge-based Republican consulting firm that said the poll was not conducted on behalf of any candidate or political organization.

"While any reelection number below 50 percent should be some cause for concern, Hagan's current position puts her in a much better place than other Southern Democratic U.S. senators up in 2014," said John Diez Jr., principal of Magellan Strategies BR.

Those findings are in line with other more independent polls.

The Magellan poll also found that Hagan's support when statements were read about Hagan's support for key pieces of President Obama's agenda, such as immigration reform, health care, and the stimulus package.

Magellan surveys 1,600 likely North Carolina voters between July 31st and August 1st. The margin of error was 2.5 percent.

Morning Memo: McCrory's approval rating sinks, questions remain in tax deal

ALERT: McCRORY'S APPROVAL RATING TUMBLES: For the first time in his term, more voters disapprove of Gov. Pat McCrory than support him, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey. The Democratic firm found 40 percent approve of the job McCrory is doing and 49 percent disapprove. It's a significant shift from a month ago when PPP put the Republican governor's approval rating at 45 percent with 39 percent disapproval. (Read more on Dome later this morning.)

REPUBLICANS RALLY TO THANK LAWMAKERS: Moral Monday protesters aren’t the only ones rallying on Halifax Mall this week. The N.C. Republican Party has asked conservatives to gather at 5 p.m. Tuesday for “Thankful Tuesday,” a meeting planned by a coalition of groups to thank legislators for their work. The event will also allow for networking between Republicans and supporters. It isn’t a counter-protest to Moral Mondays, the left-leaning demonstrations that have garnered national attention for the past 10 weeks, said Mike Rusher, the state GOP’s chief of staff. “We want to tell our state legislators that we’re basically proud of what they’re doing,” said Joe Taylor, a member of the Moccasin Creek Minutemen, a conservative group that is helping to host the event. “They catch a lot of grief on Monday.” Read more here.

***In the Dome Morning Memo below: three big questions for the tax deal, an unusual new name for House Speaker Thom Tillis and more North Carolina political news.***

Morning Memo: Arrests near 500, Democrats debut anti-Tillis website

TOTAL ARRESTS NEAR 500: Eighty-four demonstrators were arrested by the N.C. General Assembly police on Monday, bringing the total since April 29 to more than 480. Holly Jordan, 29, a teacher at Hillside High School in Durham, said she decided to get arrested on Monday because she was thoroughly upset with the education policies and budgets proposed. She knew that some of the Republicans had described their naysayers as “aging hippies” and “outsiders” who considered it “en vogue” to get arrested.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The Senate will take a final vote on its tax plan, and send it to the House. The two chambers remain far apart on how to cut taxes. The House will consider Gov. Pat McCrory's transportation funding bill. In committees, House lawmakers will consider a bill to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on certain roads and a bill requiring cursive -- which is likely to be remade entirely at the last minute, given a similar bill passed earlier this session. Senate lawmakers will meet in committees to consider a bill requiring background checks on those who receive some public assistance and another measure to roll back energy efficiency regulations on building to 2009 levels.

Gov. Pat McCrory will visit another rotary club, this time in Winston-Salem, before meeting with unidentified business leaders in a private meeting at Womble Carlyle, a law firm that also has a lobbying practice.

***Below in the Dome Morning Memo -- U.S. Senate race news, remember Jim Holshouser and a legislative roundup.***

McCrory approval margin shrinks in latest PPP poll

As his term nears the sixth-month mark, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's approval rating is at its lowest point so far.

A new poll finds 45 percent approve of his job performance and 39 percent disapprove, a slight decline from the previous month when 48 percent approved, according to Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh-based Democratic firm. The poll's margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.

But the Republican's +6 percent approval margin is his lowest, down from +10 in May and +26 when he took office in January, the survey found. "A big reason why McCrory won so easily last fall was a lot of crossover support from Democrats but that's dissipating -- in April he was at 31(approve)/ 53 (disapprove) with them, now it's 24/60," wrote pollster Tom Jensen in explaining the results.

McCrory's marks still remain better than the state legislature, according to the automated poll of voters conducted June 12-14.

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