North Carolina voters are planning to choose Republicans at both the federal and state levels next year.
Our newest poll finds the GOP holding a 48-38 lead on the generic Congressional ballot and a 46-39 one on the generic legislative ballot.
There are two key reasons for the early Republican lean: independents are leaning toward them and they're more unified than the Democrats are. For Congress independents prefer Republicans 37-21 and for the legislature it's 34-23. 90% of Republicans but only 76% of Democrats plan to support their party in Congressional races and for the legislature those figures are 89% and 77%.
These high levels of Republican unity are becoming a constant in our polling across the country as the party's voters seem to realize they'll all have to be on the same page to avoid repeats of the disastrous 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
The generic Congressional numbers aren't that important. Unless Bob Etheridge ends up getting into the Senate race there's really only one seat that's shaping up to be at all competitive next year, and that's Larry Kissell's. We'll likely do a poll on how folks think he's done in his first year sometime next month.
The legislative numbers are more meaningful because there are probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple dozen seats that could be closely contested next year. A Republican takeover of the legislature is entirely possible in this climate. It just remains to be seen whether they'll be able to raise the money and recruit the candidates to take advantage of it. Democrats at the state level have often been able to weather bad years for the national party because of superior campaigns and fundraising.
And of course the election is 13 months away. Six months ago it would have been almost unthinkable that Democratic prospects could decline so much in such a short period of time, and there is certainly a possibility that things will be much rosier for the party a year from now than they are today.
Full results here