For the third month in a row PPP finds Bev Perdue's approval rating in the 25-27% range, this time coming in at 26% with 54% of voters in the state disapproving of the job she's doing.
Perdue's approval is pretty much steady with Democrats and Republicans at 40% and 8% respectively. With independents she's dropped from 27% a month ago to now 22%.
We asked respondents who said they didn't like Perdue to say why, from a list of six choices. The top reason was that she raised taxes, cited by 37% of respondents. Another 17% named a specific thing, her cutting teacher and state employee pay earlier in the year in the form of a furlough. Her approval numbers first started dropping precipitously, particularly among Democrats, in the wake of that action.
Also commonly cited were two more general leadership characteristics. 19% of those disapproving of her said it was because she's been indecisive and not a strong leader and 17% said she was generally not trust worthy.
Some have speculated that Perdue's problems are due to a lack of visibility but only 1% said that was why they disapproved of her and only 4% expressed unhappiness with her willingness to take progressive issue stances.
A combination of the national climate and Perdue's unpopularity has the potential to cause problems for Democrats further down the ballot. North Carolina voters, asked generally whether they would support Democratic or Republican legislative candidates if an election was held today, support the GOP by a narrow 43-42 margin. That's made possible by Republicans holding a 37-29 lead among independents and also having their base more knotted up, with 88% of their voters saying they would support the party while just 76% of Democrats say they would vote for their nominees.
Of course the rub there, besides the fact that the next election is 14 months away, is that control of the legislature is decided not by generic ballots but by races in individual districts. Winning those contests requires good candidates and a lot of money, and Democrats have proven themselves to be superior on those fronts in recent years. Perhaps the Republican shift nationally and Perdue's troubles will embolden stronger GOP candidates to run than have in the past few cycles but that remains to be seen.
As for Perdue, her weak numbers provide a great opportunity. It's close to impossible for her to be any less popular so she should move forward with a more bold and transformational vision for the state and not worry about the political consequences of it. If she doesn't do anything significantly differently for the next three years she's going to be a one term Governor anyway, so she might as well shoot for the stars in terms of changing and improving how the state of North Carolina does things and not worry about what impact that's going to have on her standing with this or that interest group or donor. You can't make meaningful change if you don't at least try.
Full results here