Thursday, December 30, 2010

NC Politician Year End Report Card

As 2010 comes to a close we have an opportunity to look at whose popularity rose, fell, and stayed the same among the major politicians in North Carolina over the course of the year.

Here's a quick breakdown of how the net approval ratings of Bev Perdue, Richard Burr, Barack Obama, and Kay Hagan shifted from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010:


End of 2009 Approval

End of 2010 Approval


Bev Perdue

27/53 (-26)

35/44 (-9)


Richard Burr

35/37 (-2)

36/34 (+2)


Kay Hagan

36/44 (-8)

36/43 (-7)


Barack Obama

48/47 (+1)

46/49 (-3)


The biggest gainer and the only person whose numbers changed significantly over the course of 2010 was Bev Perdue, although that may be considered a Pyrrhic victory given that she went from being incredibly unpopular to just somewhat unpopular. Her net approval at the end of 2009 was -26 with 27% of voters approving of her and 53% disapproving. Now it's -9 with 35% of voters approving of her and 44% disapproving. That's a 17 point gain but her approval spread still puts her six points behind the average Governor.

The next biggest gainer was Richard Burr who went from being slightly unpopular with a -2 approval spread (35/37) at the end of 2009 to slightly popular with a +2 approval spread (36/34) at the end of 2010. Burr's name recognition went up over the course of the year as he advertised on television but two months removed from the election voters seem to have forgotten about him already- the level of ambivalence toward him is higher than for just about any other Senator in the country. With a Republican wind behind him and an ill funded opponent it hardly mattered for his reelection prospects. Burr's approval spread is almost identical to the +3 average we found for 59 Senators across the country in the second half of 2010.

Kay Hagan saw basically no change in her numbers over the course of 2010. Her approval rating at the end of last year was 36%, and it's still 36%. Her disapproval moved insignificantly from 44% to 43%. Her approval spread is 10 points behind our national average for Senators. Although Perdue is generally thought of as the state's most unpopular politician Hagan actually performs worse compared to the mean of her peers at this point. Fortunately for her she has plenty of time for her numbers to improve before she has to go before the voters again.

Barack Obama's numbers in the state are slightly worse than they were at the end of last year although a 2 point drop in his approval rating and a 2 point increase in his disapproval are both changes within the margin of error. His most recent national approval breakdown is 47% approving and 50% disapproving so his standing in North Carolina is essentially identical compared to where he is nationwide. That may be surprising given that his performance in the state in 2008 ran seven points behind what he did in the national popular vote, but his numbers are tending to hold up better in states with large black populations because those voters are considerably less likely to have abandoned him than white ones. Where his numbers have really taken a dive are places like New Hampshire.

So to review Obama and Burr have average popularity in North Carolina, and Perdue and Hagan are both below average. The state doesn't have any politicians it particularly likes, and no one saw a real meaningful shift in voter attitudes toward them this year except Perdue.


Rasmus said...

What about McCrory? He might be a politician the state likes well.

Dustin Ingalls said...

We're talking about sitting politicans' approval ratings we poll every month. McCrory's out of office (and didn't serve statewide to begin with), and we haven't done his favorability rating more than a few times.

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