Legislative Republicans in North Carolina are continuing to become more and more unpopular and there's a pretty good chance now that Democrats would regain control of the legislature if there was an election today.
Only 33% of voters have a favorable opinion of the Republicans in the General Assembly to 46% with an unfavorable one. That -13 favorability spread reflects a 7 point decline from already poor numbers a month ago when it was -6 at 36/42. Independents fueled the GOP gaining the majority last year but they have now turned sharply against the party, giving it a 28/48 breakdown.
Voter attitudes toward the Democrats in Raleigh are evenly divided with 39% of voters rating them positively and 39% negatively. Those mixed feelings, combined with the negative ones toward the GOP, are enough to now give Democrats a 5 point lead on the generic legislative ballot at 46-41. That's a wide enough spread that the party would have a very good chance of regaining its majorities if voters went to the polls today, and it reflects a 16 point shift from November when our final poll before the election found Republicans with an 11 point lead on that question.
What has turned voters so strongly against the Republicans? Beyond the unpopular budget consider some of these poll findings:
-60% of voters statewide, including 54% in Thom Tillis and 52% in Phil Berger's districts, supported the executive order Bev Perdue issued on unemployment a week and a half ago. The standoff on unemployment benefits was one of the more high profile battles of the legislative session and Perdue appears to have won it.
-The Republicans moved to partisan judicial elections even as voters statewide express little support for that move. 49% of voters think those races should be nonpartisan to only 22% who think candidates should have party labels. In Tillis' district (61/21) and in Berger's (54/22) the sentiment is even stronger.
-The issue where legislative Republicans have moved perhaps most counter to public opinion in the state this session is guns. We found earlier in the year that voters were strongly opposed to efforts to allow guns in parks and bars. 69% are opposed to permitting guns in locked cars on school property with only 19% supportive. It's really not that much of a partisan issue- Republicans (59/26), independents (62/25), and Democrats (78/12) are all strongly against guns on school grounds. This is one of those issues where the GOP elected officials have gotten well ahead even of GOP voters. Constituents of Tillis (76/19) and Berger (73/20) are even more unified in their opposition.
You get the point...much of the Republican legislative agenda has proved to be incredibly unpopular with voters in the state and since they've pushed forward with it anyway they're increasingly paying a price in the polls.
Full results here