Richard Burr's approval rating with Democrats is 20%. That's not very good. But it's good enough to make him by far the politician with the greatest amount of bipartisan support among North Carolina's top statewide officials.
That's because Republicans in the state like all of the Democratic politicians even less. Barack Obama's rating with them is 9%, while Bev Perdue and Kay Hagan are both at 8%.
Since Jim Hunt won reelection with 62% of the vote in 1980, nobody's crossed 56% in a Gubernatorial or Senate election in the state, showing an amazing level of parity between the parties.
These numbers are a good prism into that. North Carolina Republicans are hyper partisan and almost never cross over to support Democrats in races for major offices like Governor and Senator. North Carolina Democrats are at least a little bit more inclined to do so, and that's why Republicans tend to remain competitive in statewide elections despite the continuing strong Democratic registration advantage.
Kay Hagan won an unusually lopsided victory last year by the recent standards of statewide elections but it wasn't because she got an inordinate amount of Republican votes- rather it was because she kept Elizabeth Dole to a not good enough 14% of the vote among registered Democrats. If Dole had been up around that 20% where Burr is the race would have been a toss up.
As long as Republicans in the state continue to completely hate Democrats and Democrats continue to be somewhat more open to crossing over, we're going to keep on having hyper competitive elections every time around.