Poll: McCrory with thin lead despite damaging H.B. 2

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
North Carolina GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and vicechairman Michele Nix holds a press conference Monday

RALEIGH — A new Elon University Poll revealed that about 60 percent of likely voters feel the controversial House Bill 2 has damaged North Carolina and its reputation, but it hasn’t kept incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory from holding a slim a lead over his challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper.The poll shows McCrory up by 2.7 percent on Cooper, who was ahead 6 points on the governor five months ago in Elon’s April poll. With a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent, the gubernatorial race is a statistical dead heat.The H.B. 2 issue is weighing on some voters, with 36 percent saying the controversy will make them less likely to vote for McCrory while 26 percent said it makes them more likely to support the governor, and 34 percent said it makes no difference.The H.B. 2 battle between Republicans and Democrats has reignited the past few days, with the General Assembly poised to repeal the bill — and McCrory prepared to call for the special session needed to do so — but only if the Charlotte City Council overturns their ordinance. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts did not put a vote on the council agenda for Monday, raising the ire of the N.C. Republican Party. Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NCGOP, pointed aim squarely at Roberts, Cooper and the Democrats.”It’s a disappointing morning today,” Woodhouse said following the launch of the “victory office” in Raleigh. “While the governor has shown incredible leadership trying to find a compromise out of a problem that started in Charlotte and should’ve ended in Charlotte, Roy Cooper and Mayor Roberts have chosen the cynical politics of today rather than a better North Carolina, and a way out of the H.B. 2 concerns.”Michelle Nix, vice chairman of the NCGOP, echoed Woodhouse’s claims.”Attorney General Roy Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts: we know exactly where your loyalties lie,” Nix said. “And it’s not with North Carolinians. I am so disappointed, not only in you but in your Democrat Party. Terrible.”Woodhouse insinuated that Cooper was behind Roberts’ decision, saying “Washington special interests” were attempting to reshape North Carolina and “force the opportunity for people with ill in their heart to gain access to bathrooms and showers.”When asked about the 60 percent of those polls believing H.B. 2 “damaged” the state, Woodhouse agreed but pivoted the blame to the Charlotte mayor and city council, saying there would be no H.B. 2 without the original ordinance.”Absolutely, it was absolutely a huge mistake for the Charlotte City Council to thrust this on the people of North Carolina. It was a monumental mistake,” Woodhouse said. “I don’t think our legislature and governor had any choice. The governor and legislature did everything they could to avoid this. It was a huge mistake by the Charlotte City Council, and one that they do have the opportunity to rectify.”When reminded it was H.B. 2, not the Charlotte ordinance, poll takers had issue with, Woodhouse swatted away the idea his party was to blame for the controversy. “You know we’re Republicans, they blame us for everything,” Woodhouse said. “That’s just what we have to deal with.”Some other revelations from the new poll include:
Only 4 percent of respondents had not heard of H.B. 2H.B. 2 is opposed by 31 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independentsMcCrory has 92 percent of his own party members’ support, while Cooper has 87 percent of Democratic support McCrory had 60 percent support from independent voters, the fastest-growing segment of the state’s registered votersThe Elon poll was of 644 registered voters who self-identified as “absolutely certain” they were going to vote in the November. The sample was randomized and conducted by live interviewers on cell phones and landlines.