North Carolina voters are continuing to side with Democrats instead of Republicans on most of the key issues being debated in the General Assembly. That could mean GOP control of the legislature proves to be short lived- Democrats have now retaken the lead on the generic ballot in the state, quite a contrast to where the numbers on that question stood throughout most of 2010.
We asked about 3 of the big debates going on right now on this poll:
-Asked whether it's more important to minimize cuts to education or let the temporary sales tax increase expire, 55% of voters side with education while only 32% think it's more important to return the tax to its previous level. That sentiment is actually held most strongly by independents, 60-26. Democrats feel that way 57-30 and even Republicans do by a 49-37 margin. This is an issue where GOP leaders in the legislature are working against the interests of their own base.
-Asked whether the General Assembly should or should not have an up or down vote on extending unemployment benefits 55% of voters said there should be a stand alone vote to only 20% opposed to that concept. This is another issue where the opposition to legislative Republicans' current tack cuts across party lines- Democrats by a 56/17 margin, Republicans by a 54/22 one, and independents by a 53/23 one all think the issue should be brought to a vote in its own accord.
-Only 35% of voters support chopping a week off of the early voting period to 44% who are opposed. Republicans do support this initiative by a 45/37 margin, but Democrats oppose it 49/29 and independents do as well by a similar 46/28 spread.
Since voters don't like most of what the Republican majority is trying to do, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Democrats have now taken a 45-43 lead on the generic legislative ballot. Republicans led by 11 points on that measure right before the election last November and had a 46-42 lead on it as recently as February. But independents have been moving away from the GOP since that time- they still have a 37-33 lead with them but that's down quite a bit from 41-29 in February and with the large Democratic registration advantage in the state Republicans need to win by a bigger margin than that with independents if they want to win overall.
Beyond that is also a small but meaningful group of Republican voters abandoning their party as it goes far to the right- in February only 1% of GOP partisans said they would vote Democratic for the legislature but that figure is now up to 6%.
The political landscape in North Carolina has seen a pretty fundamental shift in the last six months.
Full results here