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Elon Poll: N.C. divided on Obama approval and happy with McCrory

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, RESULTS and CROSSTABS

North Carolina residents are divided this spring on President Barack Obama’s job approval ratings as they continue to warm to newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they approve of Obama’s job performance, a small drop from the president’s level of support in February. Forty-six percent of respondents disapprove of his performance. Gov. Pat McCrory saw an increase in his approval rating over the past two months with 46 percent of respondents saying they support his performance.

The live-caller telephone poll of 770 residents was conducted April 5-9, 2013, and has a margin of error of 3.53 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general with numbers that included both landlines and cellular phones.

Obama retains high levels of support among Democrats, African Americans, women and respondents under the age of 30. Meanwhile, McCrory is making inroads among Democrats. Nearly a third of self-identified Democrats in the latest poll said they approved of McCrory’s performance, which was higher than the 26 percent who supported him in February.

Also of note: In February, 32 percent of respondents said they “don’t know” how they felt about McCrory. In the most recent poll, 27 percent said they “don’t know,” an indication that undecided respondents are starting to feel good about his job performance.

“Approval of Gov. Pat McCrory seems to be growing as people learn more about his policy positions and see him in the news more frequently,” said Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll.

NORTH CAROLINA’S U.S. SENATORS

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan shared similar approval numbers. Forty percent of residents said they approve of the job Kay Hagan was doing, while 39 percent said they approve of Richard Burr.

However, Hagan, a Democrat up for re-election in 2014, had more respondents indicate their disapproval (33 percent disapproval) with her job than her Republican counterpart (26 percent disapproval).

Burr’s highest levels of support come from men, whites and respondents under the age of 30, though he curried favor with all age groups as well as women. Hagan found her highest levels of support among African Americans and women.  She lagged in job support from white respondents, whose job approval (34 percent) lagged disapproval figures (37 percent).

CONGRESS

Just 12 percent of respondents approved of the way Congress is handling its job in Washington, the poll found. Approval is low among all ideologies, races, sexes and incomes.

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

State lawmakers collectively fared better than Congress and saw gains in approval rating since February, but approval was still low.  Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said they approve of the state legislature’s job performance, up four points from the previous Elon University Poll, while almost 39 percent said they disapprove.

“Although approval of the state legislature’s job performance is not high, it has improved slightly since February,” Fernandez said. “This may come as a surprise to some given that the General Assembly’s policy agenda has been under increased scrutiny.”