Several of Bev Perdue's major proposals for this year's state budget are very popular with North Carolina voters, with support for them cutting across party lines. But it's still not translating into more popularity for the Governor herself.
One of the key points Perdue made in her State of the State address was that she would oppose any teacher or teacher assistant jobs from being cut- 67% of voters in the state stand with her on that promise with only 20% thinking that eliminating teaching positions should be part of the solution for this year's budget gap. That includes very strong majorities of Democrats (77%), independents (59%), and Republicans (58%) alike.
It's a similar story when it comes to Perdue's proposal to lower the corporate tax rate in the state by 2%. 48% of voters stand with her on that to 30% who are opposed. This is an issue where Democrats are actually the least supportive of their Governor's position, splitting evenly at 36%. But she earns strong support on this proposal from Republicans (59/24) and independents (53/28).
Perdue's policy positions are getting high marks from voters in the state...but her own approval numbers have taken a slight turn in the wrong direction. Only 30% say they like the job she's doing to 48% who disapprove. That marks a five point decline in her approval rating from when she hit 35% in December, which had been her best number in a PPP poll since very early in her term. The last time her approval rating was as low as 30% was August. The reason for her numbers going back down the first couple months of this year may be something bigger than Perdue herself- Governors just don't tend to be popular at budget time. Her numbers initially tanked during the 2009 budget cycle and that hardly put her alone among her counterparts across the country.
For now legislative Republicans are defeating Perdue in the court of public opinion. 44% of voters say they have more faith in the ability of the new GOP majority to run the state, compared to 37% who say Perdue. The main reason for that is Republican voters are much more sold on their legislators (82%) than Democratic voters are on their Governor (64%). Independents also lean slightly toward the GOP on that question, by a 41/35 margin. There is some good news for Perdue when she's compared to the Republican legislature though- by a 34/31 spread voters think she's doing more to bring jobs to North Carolina.
Perdue continues to lag a good bit when tested in a hypothetical rematch with 2008 foe Pat McCrory. The former Charlotte mayor's lead is back up to 49-37 this month. The biggest problem for Perdue here is once again her party base- while McCrory has 84% of Republicans locked up, only 64% of Democrats are committing to Perdue right now. She probably needs that number to be up closer to 80% to win reelection. Independents continue to lean toward McCrory as well by a 44-29 margin.
Perdue's shown the ability to get voters to respond positively to her ideas. Now the question is just whether she can get them to respond positively to her.
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