Today Civitas released numbers showing that Pat McCrory would beat Bev Perdue 46-32 in a possible rematch. That's really a no brainer given the Governor's approval ratings, but the bigger takeaway for me from the poll is that McCrory's numbers are pretty underwhelming.
McCrory got 47% of the vote last fall but despite Perdue's remarkable unpopularity he doesn't improve on that at all in this poll. McCrory got good reviews as a candidate last fall but perhaps his stronger than expected performance had more to do with the eventual winner's campaign being underwhelming than anything having to do with himself. I almost think McCrory's standing in this poll is similar to that of a generic Republican- would a Fred Smith, Phil Berger, or Sue Myrick necessarily have polled any worse? I think McCrory's Gubernatorial campaign was pretty overrated.
The overall situation surrounding Perdue reminds me a lot of the Washington Governor's race and Christine Gregoire four years ago. Gregoire just barely snuck into office after a much closer than expected challenge from Republican Dino Rossi. The early part of her term was rocky- in May 2005 her approval rating was just 34%, ranking her 47th out of 50 for popularity in SurveyUSA's tracking for that month.
After Rossi's tight defeat the party automatically went back to him for a second go around in 2008 and despite Gregoire's first year difficulties she dispatched him by a much more lopsided six point margin in the rematch.
I have no doubt Bev Perdue would lose if there was an election today. But there isn't, three and a half years is a lifetime in politics for things to shift back in her direction, and these numbers don't make McCrory look all that impressive either. Folks gleefully declaring Perdue a one term Governor based on her approval rating six months in might be right, but I still think there's a better than even chance they're wrong.