Republican Governor Pat McCrory has a slight 49 percent to 46 percent lead over Democratic challenger Roy Cooper in the latest Elon University poll.
Released earlier today, the poll also found that voters oppose HB2 by a 49 to 39 margin.
“This comes particularly surprising since both the Elon Poll and other polling organizations around the state had shown the governor slipping in polls to Roy Cooper,” says Jason Husser, Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Elon Poll.
The result may also be surprising to those who believe HB2 – and its negative economic impact – might be held against the Governor.
McCrory has consistently defended HB2. The law, passed in a special one-day session by the General Assembly earlier this year, requires people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate and limits local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
Last week, the NCAA and the ACC voted to move dozens of championships out of the state. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimated the loss of the ACC football championship alone will cost the city upwards of $30 million of economic impact.
“Even though the governor seems to be doing better than he had been despite HB2, he might be doing even better if his campaign narrative was about a popular issue like Connect NC instead of a divisive issues like HB2,” said Husser.
Besides HB2, the campaigns are also racially divided: Cooper is winning 93 percent of African-American likely voters; McCrory leads Cooper 63 to 37 percent among whites.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Deborah Ross holds a very slight one-point lead over Republican incumbents Richard Burr in the race for U-S Senate, 44.4 percent to 43.4 percent.
“I would take these numbers for Burr with a grain of salt as they are likely to shift within the coming weeks,” said Husser. “We are likely to see millions and millions of dollars of advertisements for both Ross and Burr and so this senate race is far too close to call, one way or the other.”