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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.

Morning Memo: What Pat McCrory and Bev Perdue have in common

SENATE OVERRIDE VOTE EXPECTED: The state House on Tuesday took little more than half an hour to override the governor’s vetoes of two bills, on immigration and drug-testing welfare recipients. The resurrected legislation now passes to the Senate, which will vote Wednesday morning and is expected to easily override. Gov. Pat McCrory lobbied House members to sustain the vetoes to little success -- but he didn't try a similiar effort with lawmakers in the Senate, a chamber that he has been at odds with for most of the legislative session.

HOW PAT McCRORY AND BEV PERDUE ARE ALIKE: From Catawba College political expert Michael Bitzer: "What appears to be constant between the two governors is the distaste by independent voters. While (former Gov. Bev) Perdue faired worse earlier than (Gov. Pat) McCrory has, they both have reached a similar point of nearly 50 percent disapproval among independent voters. While the Perdue-McCrory gap is pretty noticeable among independents expressing their disapproval, the convergence in August, after the dust of the legislative sessions had settled, is pretty striking." See his analysis of polling results and the one chart that tells the McCrory story.

***Read more on the override votes in the House and where the N.C. delegation stands on Syria below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Speaker's hometown paper calls for his resignation

HOUSE SPEAKER'S HOMETOWN PAPER CALLS FOR HIS RESIGNATION: Responding to the second story (here and here) in a month about House Speaker Thom Tillis skipping session to fundraise for his U.S. Senate campaign, The Charlotte Observer editorial board said he needs to resign his post. In an editorial headlined, "Tillis tries but can't serve two masters," they concluded: "It’s fine that Tillis is interested in higher office, and we don’t fault him for recognizing the need to raise millions. But the fiscal year started three weeks ago and the legislature still has not agreed on a budget. Tillis is missing sessions. His actions are raising questions of conflict of interest.

"He has shown he can’t give his undivided attention to the N.C. House and the U.S. Senate at the same time. He should give up his Speaker’s gavel, resign from his House seat and give his full energy to his Senate bid, unencumbered by such distractions as running the state."

Facing this question before, Tillis has said he intends to remain speaker and do his job. But he also said he wouldn't actively campaign during the legislative session, a pledge that is in question. Some Republicans are starting to privately grumble that he may need to step down. Read the editorial here.

PAT McCRORY ON HIS FALLING APPROVAL RATINGS: Meh. WCNC-TV's Dave Wagner interviewed Gov. Pat McCrory and asked about the latest PPP numbers showing McCrory in the negative for the first time in his term. Accccording to a @WagnerWCNC tweet, McCrory replied: "I'm shocked they're not lower, cause we're stepping on the toes of the status quo."

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo -- more North Carolina political news and analysis below.****

McCrory, Hagan faring well in latest poll

Nearly half of the people asked in a recent survey weren’t sure what to make of new Gov. Pat McCrory yet. The Civitas Poll found 48 percent were either undecided or didn’t know.

But almost as many – 41 percent – approved of the job he is doing, according to the poll of voters taken Jan. 14 and 15. Eleven percent disapproved of the Republican governor, according to the poll by the conservative group.

Magazine lists PPP's Tom Jensen among 36 most powerful people in politics

Raleigh pollster Tom Jensen landed on Business Insider magazine's list of the 36 most powerful people in politics, joining the likes of Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Michelle Obama and Karl Rove.

Jensen, a Chapel Hill resident, is the chief pollster at Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm that does automated polling. Business Insider writes: "Largely unknown prior to the 2012 campaign, Jensen's North Carolina-based firm ended up being the most reliable public pollster of the election. The firm correctly predicted the winner of the presidential race in all 50 states, and at the end of the election, PPP was rated as the most accurate polling company of the campaign.

PPP poll: Presidential race a tie, McCrory way ahead in governor's race

The newest poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling the presidential race is deadlocked and Pat McCrory enjoying a big lead in the governor's race.

The survey of likely voters released Thursday shows President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney tied at 48 percent with just 4 percent undecided. It's a slight improvement or the president. A PPP poll from Oct. 14 put Romney ahead 49 percent to 47 percent, though it was still a statistical tie.

The governor's race isn't even close. Pat McCrory holds a 13-point lead on Democrat Walter Dalton, ahead 50 percent to 37 percent.

Rasmussen poll gives Romney 6-point lead after debates

A new Rasmussen flash poll after the second presidential debate gives Mitt Romney high marks.

The Republican-leaning polling firm puts the Republican candidate ahead by six points. Romney received 52 percent support among likely voters to 46 percent for President Barack Obama.

A week ago, Rasmussen found Romney ahead by three points. The newer numbers give Romney a bigger lead than other polls suggest. The Democratic firm Public Policy poll put the race at 2 points.

Pat McCrory maintains 10-point lead on Walter Dalton in governor's race

Pat McCrory's firm grasp on the North Carolina governor's race continues as a new poll shows him 10 points ahead of rival Walter Dalton.

McCrory received 47 percent to Dalton's 37 percent in a survey of likely voters released Monday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. The results are identical to a PPP survey from Sept. 30 and indicate the first statewide TV debate and a month's worth of TV commercials did nothing to boost Dalton, the Democratic lieutenant governor.

Libertarian Barbara Howe received 5 percent and 11 percent remain undecided, the poll showed. The PPP numbers are the seventh poll since mid-September to give McCrory, a double-digit lead. Other reliable polls put the Republican ahead as much as 13 points.

PPP poll: Romney 49 percent, Obama 47 in deadlocked race

Mitt Romney holds a two-point edge against President Barack Obama in the deadlocked North Carolina race, according to a new poll from a Democratic firm.

The latest Public Policy Polling survey gives Romney a 49 to 47 percent advantage among likely voters, a slight improvement for the GOP candidate compared to two weeks ago when the races was knotted at 48 percent. The lead is within the 3 percent margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.

"This now makes 26 out of 27 times polling the race in North Carolina that PPP has found Obama and Romney within three points of each other," writes pollster Tom Jensen.

Confident in McCrory's lead in governor's race, Republicans trim ad spending

With Pat McCrory sitting on a double-digit lead in the polls, the Republican Governors Association is trimming its spending on TV commercials in North Carolina, according to new data.

The move signals that national Republicans are confident that McCrory is a near-lock to win the governor's race and allows the RGA to spend more in closer races across the country.

The RGA cut $400,000 from its ad buy in the next two weeks starting Monday, independent media buyers reported. "We feel comfortable," spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "We are going to keep our foot on the gas but not press the pedal all the way to the floor."

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