NORTH CAROLINA: Dem Attorney General Roy Cooper Leads Gov. Pat McCrory By Five Points In New Poll

Public Policy Polling reports:

For the first time this entire cycle PPP finds a clear leader in the race to be North Carolina’s next Governor: Roy Cooper. Cooper’s at 46% to 41% for Pat McCrory, with Libertarian Lon Cecil at 2%. When undecideds and Cecil voters are asked who they’d pick if they had to choose between Cooper and McCrory, Cooper’s lead ticks up to 50/43.

McCrory continues to be unpopular, with only 41% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapprove. This makes 39 months in a row we’ve found his approval rating under water. Voters are generally having a positive reaction as they’ve become more familiar with Cooper, with 40% of voters rating him positively to 32% who have a negative opinion.

The story in this race is Cooper’s strength with independent voters. He leads McCrory 44-33 with them in the full field, and 50-34 with them in the head to head. By contrast, McCrory defeated Walter Dalton by a 2:1 margin with independents in 2012. But they have largely soured on him with now only 36% approving of him to 49% who disapprove.

HB2 is causing McCrory big trouble as well. By a 20 point margin voters want to see it repealed- just 32% support keeping it on the books, to 52% who think it should be overturned. Among pivotal independent voters, there’s 56/29 support for repeal. There may be one simple reason HB2 is so unpopular- it’s a bill targeting LGBT people, yet only 19% of North Carolinians say they have a negative opinion of LGBT people, to 47% with a positive one and 34% who are indifferent. A bill cutting the rights of a group of people that only a small slice of the electorate has a problem with isn’t going to be very popular.

McCrory’s taken a direct hit thanks to HB2. Only 39% of voters approve of how he’s handled the issue, to 49% who disapprove. And by an 11 point margin voters say his handling of HB2 makes them less likely to vote for him this fall- 41% say it makes them less inclined to support him to only 30% who say it makes them more likely to.