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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.

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.

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.

Behind in the polls, Mansfield launches TV ad campaign

Democratic State Sen. Eric Mansfield launched a TV ad to boost his bid for lieutenant governor a week ahead of the May 8 primary. The kicker: "Help me change North Carolina."

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Mansfield trailing his rival Linda Coleman with 43 percent of Democrats undecided. Coleman's support sits at 39 percent to Mansfield's 18 percent.

The Queen City isn't as evil as thought

You’ve probably heard it said: The rest of North Carolina hates Charlotte. They think we consider ourselves the “Great State of Mecklenburg.” And they love to beat our Charlotte mayors when they run for statewide office.

Well, here’s the truth: Most in the state actually like Charlotte.

At least that’s one of the headlines in a new survey of N.C. voters by Public Policy Polling. It found that 59 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the Queen City, reports Tim Funk.

Only 18 percent had an unfavorable view, and 23 percent, well, they weren’t sure how they felt. Read more on the results here.

PPP political memo puts N.C. in 2012 spotlight

At Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, a Democratic survey firm, pollster Tom Jensen compiled an interesting look ahead to the 2012 general election.

The memo assumed the GOP nominates Mitt Romney, the candidate that early polls show is running closest to President Barack Obama. And based on voter's attitudes at this point, Jensen finds North Carolina is one of four states up for grabs. The others are Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, PPP contends.

"So let's say Romney does four (percentage) points better than his current poll standing -- that would add Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina to his electoral vote column based on our 2011 polls in those states. That would put him ahead of Obama 283-255 in the electoral college," Jensen suggests.

"The fact that you can take the same set of polls and use them to put Obama at either 337 or 255 electoral votes speaks to how up in the air this year's Presidential race is," he adds. "But Obama should find this heartening- he has 255 electoral votes locked up in states where we found him with at least a five point average poll lead in 2011.  If he can win just one out of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina that puts him over 270."

Read more and see a nifty breakdown of the polls by state here.

Poll finds scandal does little to taint Bev Perdue's numbers

UPDATED: A new poll finds Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue lost little -- if any -- support in the days after three of her close associates were indicted.

Perdue still trails GOP challenger Pat McCrory by 10 points -- 50 percent to 40 percent -- in a head-to-head match up, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm. It's only 1 point -- and within the margin of error -- from last month's poll which found McCrory up 48 percent to 39 percent.

Perdue's approval rating stand at 37 percent, which is also in line with the November numbers. Half of the voters polled disapprove.

The poll was conducted Dec. 1-4 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent for the gubernatorial questions, PPP reported.

Other numbers show state Rep. Bill Faison, whose recent remarks suggested he may challenge Perdue, does far worse than the governor against McCrory. He would lose by 21 points if the election were held today, the poll found. Only 7 percent of voters view him favorably compared to 31 percent unfavorable -- striking numbers for a politician who has never campaigned in a statewide race.

"McCrory would defeat pretty much any Democrat in North Carolina next year unless he's significantly cut down to size," pollster Tom Jensen concludes. "Running someone else instead of Perdue is not some magical solution to the Democrats' problems."

McCrory's campaign later added this: "That's pretty glass half full spin coming from the Democrats regarding their poll," spokesman Brian Nick said. "Perhaps Governor Perdue can use these numbers in her next fundraising appeal."

For more poll analysis from PPP, click here.

Griffith approval plummets

Shazam! Even Sheriff Taylor has taken a hit.

According to the latest from Raleigh's Public Policy Polling, even Andy Griffith isn't going unscathed this election year.

In PPP's Aug. 27-29 poll of 724 likely North Carolina voters, Manteo resident and Democrat Griffith had support from 44 percent compared to the 22 percent who said they had an unfavorable opinion. Compare that to June of 2008 when 56 percent had a favorable opinion of Griffith compared to 9 percent unfavorable.

The difference: PPP's Tom Jensen says it has to be Griffith's appearance in an ad touting the benefits of the new health care law adopted by Democrats. Republicans have criticized the spot as a political use of public money.

"There's not much doubt that it's Griffith's forays into politics, most recently in support of the health care bill, that are driving down his poll numbers," Jensen said.

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