by Joe Killian, NC Newsline
A new High Point University Poll offers insight into North Carolina residents’ views on candidates in the coming race for governor as well as the issues most important for the state’s next chief executive.
In the poll, released Monday, respondents gave Governor Roy Cooper a 49 percent approval rating – more than ten points higher than any other elected official in the poll, at the state or federal level.
The poll also asked North Carolinians for their opinions about three men who have announced their candidacy to replace Cooper – Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, and State Treasurer Dale Folwell and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, both Republicans.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they approved of the job Stein is doing, 31 percent disapproved and 34 percent said they were unsure or not familiar. Thirty-four percent of respondents said they approved of the job Robinson is doing, 33 percent disapproved and 33 percent said they were unsure. Thirty-three percent of respondents approved of the job Folwell is doing, 28 percent disapproved and 38 percent said they were unsure.
Though Folwell has had a much longer political career, Robinson has frequently made headlines in his first term in office with controversial statements that have been denounced as anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and misogynistic. His caustic, confrontational political style has led to greater name-recognition and a commanding lead in early GOP primary polling. Robinson and Folwell will both be at the NCGOP State Convention this weekend in Greensboro, as will former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron Desantis, now vying for the GOP presidential nomination. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke at UNC-Chapel Hill in April, will also speak at the convention.
Gubernatorial candidates of both parties enjoyed higher approval than any of the state legislative leaders in the poll. N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) saw a 32 percent approval rating in the poll, N.C. Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake) and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) 30 percent each and House Minority Leader Robert Reives (D-Chatham) 29 percent.
The poll also asked respondents about the most important issues for the next governor. More than two-thirds said four issues were most important: school safety (75 percent), inflation (71 percent), education (71 percent), and health care (68 percent).
Full poll results and information about methodology can be found here.
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