Monday, November 16, 2009

Perdue's popularity numbers improve

Gov. Bev Perdue has had a tough year in the opinion polls, with her popularity sliding about as fast as the unemployment rolls and the state budget deficit have risen. Things got so bad at one point that she shook up her communications leadership, hiring Pearse Edwards away from Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and bringing him back to North Carolina to be her communications and policy advisor. Not long ago Perdue also made headlines when she opposed the imminent parole of inmates who had been sentenced to life in prison for violent crimes, including murder, which may have struck a positive chord with voters.

Now two different polls have shown Perdue's approval ratings have improved, at least a little. Last week, the Civitas poll found improved results. Dome reported that "43 percent of state residents approved of the job Gov. Bev Perdue was doing at the end of October, a surge of 14 points from earlier in the month." But Dome also noted that Civitas' Chris Hayes detected a difference between performance and their view of the governor: "Even if her job approval has ticked up, people still don't have a good feeling about her," he told Dome.

The Civitas poll is available at

Meanwhile, on Monday Public Policy Polling also found better results for Perdue. Analyst Tom Jensen notes:

For the first time since June Bev Perdue's approval rating is out of the 20s. 30% of North Carolinians express support for her work this month with 49% disapproving and 22% unsure.
The positive movement for Perdue is largely a result of the Democratic base warming back up to her a little bit. Where last month more voters within her party disapproved than approved of her work, now 46% give her good marks with only 32% disapproving. She continues to suffer from pretty paltry ratings with independents and Republicans though- 24 and 11% approval respectively.
Perdue has consistently received better marks in the Triangle than the rest of the state. While part of that can be attributed to the region being more Democratic the difference is so large it can't be traced to that alone. She has 41% approval here compared to 22-32% everywhere else. This could be chalked up to Perdue's being much more visible here, particularly on the tv news, and that the more people see her the more likely they are to really think she's attuned to the state's problems. Improving visibility in the rest of the state could go a long way toward bringing up Perdue's overall numbers.
There are also some indications in this month's findings that while Perdue is certainly in a difficult place, the hole is not too large to climb out of. Asked to assign her a letter grade the most common response, from 28% of respondents, was to give Perdue a 'C.' That's an indication there is a lot of ambiguity in voters' feelings toward Perdue and that while they lean toward disapproving of her right now getting their support back over the next three years is not an impossibility.
Only 35% of voters give her a D or F, suggesting they're gone forever, compared to 40% who rate Barack Obama that poorly. It is certainly true that few voters love Perdue- just 15% giving her A's as opposed to 32% who do the same for Obama- but you don't necessarily have to be loved to be reelected.
There's not much doubt if Perdue had to stand for reelection today she'd be toast. The first year has not been particularly successful in the court of public opinion. But she's not 'done for,' so long as she can learn lessons from the difficulties so far and use that experience to do things different in the future. Whether she's capable of that kind of adaptation remains to be seen.

This analysis is also available on PPP's blog:


Anonymous said...

Big Deal, someone still needs to piss on her!

Anonymous said...

Perdue is the hardest working Governor since "early Jim Hunt." She's made more appearances in 10 months that Easley did in eight years. While that's not saying much, it does show that she is working dilligently and isn't afraid of hard work and long days/nights. Incumbants are being blamed for everything and only a handful of politicians NATIONWIDE have approval ratings above 50%. Perdue may never make it to 50% approval rating, but she will steadily climb in the polls and in the court of public opinion. That means, that IF she decides to seek reelection, it will at least be a competitive race. One cannot but help wonder if, down deep, she might just decide to "forgo politics" and do what is right and limit herself to one term. As to being seen and heard in other parts of the state, it might be well if she would just settle in to an area of the state for much of a week--living locally and eating locally--and not feeling that every night has to be spend either in Raleigh or New Bern. She is an extraordinary leader who can't catch a break. But, then, Bev has always made her own breaks, including 'breaking the glass ceiling' and being our first female governor. Give The Bevster a Chance!

The Equalizer said...

Still a loser democRat, Bev knows she would have lost had she not clung to YoMama's coat tails...BTW, they're gone. She is a poster child for the eastern NC thieves who steal from Mecklenburg county to fund their pork projects. Thank God she'll be a one termer...better steal while you can, Bev!

Anonymous said...

She is a terrible Gov. if for no other reason than that absurd cigarette tax!!! A "sin" tax on something one can do (when done respectfully) with little to no harm done to anyone else. How about if you want to tax sinful things: tax porn, alcohol, things that directly lead to misconduct. And if people don't want to smell smoke when they go out to eat...let them go to a non-smoking rest!!! I pray to God she is gone in 2012 and some decency returns to NC politics!!!

David McKNightn said...

Plus those nice editors at Raleigh's News & Observer started using a better photograph of the Governor with news stories about her office's activities, proving to the most skeptical among us that in Raleigh's media circles, some folks do have a heart!

This alone must have helped bring up the Governor's rating at least five points.

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