McCrory leads N.C. gubernatorial candidates in favorability marks

Former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican candidate for North Carolina governor, is perceived more favorably by state residents than any of the top Democrats who also hope to win the office this fall, according to the latest Elon University Poll.

None of the top candidates carry exceptional name recognition with at least half of poll respondents saying they “don’t know” how they feel about each of the men running for office.

The poll, conducted April 22-25, 2012, surveyed 640 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.87 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones. The Elon University Poll does not restrict respondents by voter eligibility or likelihood of voting.

McCrory is the only Republican with significant statewide name recognition campaigning to be governor.  The Elon University Poll asked respondents how favorably they perceive three leading Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in the May 8 statewide primary. The figures for the four candidates are:

Pat McCrory (former Charlotte mayor of 2008 Republican candidate for governor)

  • Favorable: 33 percent
  • Unfavorable: 16 percent
  • Don’t Know: 50 percent

Bob Etheridge (former member of the U.S. House of Representatives)

  • Favorable: 21 percent
  • Unfavorable: 18 percent
  • Don’t Know: 60 percent

Walter Dalton (current North Carolina lieutenant governor)

  • Favorable: 18 percent
  • Unfavorable: 13 percent
  • Don’t Know: 68 percent

Bill Faison (current member of the North Carolina General Assembly)

  • Favorable: 8 percent
  • Unfavorable: 14 percent
  • Don’t Know: 77 percent

“Most people aren’t paying attention to the state races. They probably know the candidates’ names, but aren’t committing to anyone just yet,” said John Robinson, director of communications for the Elon University Poll. “Pat McCrory’s opposition in the primary is minor, and he doesn’t need to do much campaigning right now. But despite three Democratic debates two weeks ago, Bob Etheridge, Walter Dalton and Bill Faison simply haven’t captured the public’s imagination. They have a week to do so.”

The Upcoming Statewide Primaries

Fifty-seven percent of respondents told the Elon University Poll they were following the upcoming state primaries either “fairly” or “very” closely. Forty-two percent said that when it comes to the elections, they were following “not too closely” or “not closely at all.”

Respondents were also asked where they get most of their news about the upcoming primary elections. Their responses:

  • Television: 42 percent
  • The Internet: 24 percent
  • Newspapers: 11 percent
  • Radio: 10 percent
  • Talking to People: 7 percent

North Carolina General Assembly

The latest poll found that nearly half of state residents – 47 percent – disapprove of the way the North Carolina General Assembly is doing its job. Thirty-one percent approve, and 22 percent said they “don’t know.”

When asked which party is doing a better job handling the issues the state faces, respondents were evenly split. Thirty-three percent felt the Republicans were doing the better job, 33 percent said it was the Democrats.

Twenty-two percent said “none of them.” Another 11 percent replied they “didn’t know.”