When we polled a potential Roy Cooper-Richard Burr Senate contest in December we found the Democratic Attorney General leading the Republican incumbent 39-34. Fast forward four months and we find the same basic result, with Cooper now holding a 41-37 edge. There's no doubt who the Democrats' strongest potential contender for this seat is and there's no doubt that if Cooper entered the race it would become a tossup at the least, if not even a slight Democratic advantage. Burr's name would go up there with Chris Dodd and Jim Bunning's as the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.
Burr's approval rating continues its usual position in the mid-30s, with 35% of voters in the state expressing approval for his job performance this month and 31% dissenting. By comparison Elizabeth Dole was at a much better, although still mediocre, 43% at this point in the cycle two years ago.
Cooper has a better than 2:1 favorability ratio among those respondents who had an opinion about him one way or the other, with 41% saying they have a favorable opinion of him to 20% who express an unfavorable one.
Cooper shells Burr among moderate voters in the hypothetical contest, leading 56-21.
PPP also tested Congressman Mike McIntyre in the poll as a possible Burr opponent, and found him trailing just 39-34. That's the second best performance PPP has found for any of the Democrats it has tested against Burr. McIntyre is not particularly well known statewide, with 56% of voters having no opinion about him, but he polls well because of an exceptionally strong performance in southeastern North Carolina where his district is.
His 49% favorability rating in that region is better than Burr's in any corner of the state and better than Cooper's in every part but the Triangle. He leads Burr 48-33 in the horse race there, even as Cooper and Burr are knotted. There's no indication McIntyre is interested in running for statewide office but these numbers certainly go a long way toward explaining how he's been so successful in his Republican leaning district over the years.
Full results here