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.
At the same time, those Democratic candidates are barely known -- making it appear that voters sentiment may reflect an anyone-but-McCrory (ABM) mentality after a first term filled with controversies and a contentious legislative session. All this makes good fodder for the capital's chatting class -- but again it's way too early to count McCrory out in 2016.
PPP also found McCrory's approval rating is at 35 percent, his lowest to date, with 53 percent disapproving. A month ago, McCrory was at 39 percent approval with 51 percent disapproval. A recent internal poll conducted by McCrory allies suggests he is faring much better. "McCrory's numbers had already pretty much bottomed out with Democrats but over the last month he's fallen with independents (from 41/49 to 32/57) and with Republicans (from 69/20 to 62/24) as well," writes pollster Tom Jensen.
Read more spin and analysis from PPP here.