Pat McCory’s Poll Numbers: Worse Than You Think

Many people are talking about the new Elon University poll, showing Governor McCrory trailing trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper 48-42 (with a 4% margin of error) ahead of their November showdown. Matthew Winkler of Bloomberg is scratching his head because Pat’s commitment to HB2 has hindered his ability to tell the “Carolina Comeback” story. SLOW DOWN, MATTHEW! Even before McCrory signed the “Bathroom Bill” into law, he was a fairly unpopular governor, who faced stiff competition from a seasoned, organized foe. With Donald Trump on top of the ticket, the uphill climb would probably be too great. With Ted Cruz, still tough, but doable

When you go back in history and examine North Carolina’s gubernatorial races, you see that the bad news is even more profound for McCrory. Since 1980, incumbent governors have run for re-election four times (winning all four contests) and they averaged 57.25% of the statewide vote. Even if we take away Jim Hunt’s gaudy numbers (62% in 1980 and 56% in 1996), we get to a level of support that’s 55.5%. Even if we give McCrory all four points in the margin of error, that only gets him to 46%, which is a little less than Richard Vinroot did in 2000 against Mike Easley, but a little better than Patrick Ballantine did against Easley four years later (Jim Martin’s 55% is the worst performance by an incumbent since 1980)

But, what is the absolute floor for Pat McCrory in November? It’s a safe bet that he’ll outperform Beverly Lake’s 37% in 1980.If we throw that one out, the second-place finisher in North Carolina has done no better than 43% (which was what McCrory’s challenger Walter Dalton earned in 2012). But, remember, those were all non incumbents, who faced major obstacles in terms of basic resources like name recognition. Jim Gardner in 1992 and Robin Hayes in 1996 both were fairly well-known to followers of state politics, but they didn’t have the name recognition of Jim Hunt. That’s probably why each garnered only 43% of the vote

The Cooper campaign must be ecstatic. Cooper has floated around Raleigh for a while, but he doesn’t have the name recognition of Pat McCrory, who was fairly well-known as Mayor of Charlotte before mounting a losing then a winning campaign for governor

Curiously, North Carolina’s gubernatorial races haven’t been terribly close in the past 36 years, with the exception of McCory’s losing effort, a 50-47 affair in 2008

Of course, there’s a lot of ground to cover until November and many factors simply can’s be accounted for. North Carolina’s Voter ID law will be in effect for the first time in a general election. These laws have traditionally knocked a couple of points off of Democratic totals. We also don’t know who will be on top of the Republican ticket come November. Political experts say that a Trump nomination could depress GOP turnout. A Cruz nomination would only be a little more helpful to McCrory. And, of course, any number of catastrophic events could change the election. But, still, Cooper’s got to be happy about his standing six months ’til judgment day

It remains to be seen if a repeal of HB2 would help McCrory much. At this point, the damage may already be done. But, before we get too cocky about Roy Cooper’s chances, remember a North Carolina incumbent governor hasn’t been defeated since 1892…which is a tad misleading because the position was a one (term) and done proposition until the state constitution was amended, allowing Hunt to run for a second term in ’80

Beating an incumbent is never an easy task and the Cooper campaign would probably be happy with a neck-and-neck performance, at this point. As it is, they’re ahead of the game. But, we’ve got a lot of game left to be played

McCrory Discovers Privacy

Republicans in North Carolina are in full “pushback” mode from criticism over the passage of HB2 last week. As the negative economic impact of the controversial law becomes clearer, Governor McCrory and other proponents have stepped up their p.r. game. Senator Phil Berger launched to help supporters of HB2 network and express their thanks to the Governor McCrory. The website features this image

McCrory Bathroom

which turns North Carolina’s Chief Executive into “The Guardian of the Crapper”. I’m very interested in how they cast the creepy, lurking guy in the background. Was it a Craig’s List ad?:

Wanted: Creepy-looking, somewhat ethically ambiguous pseudo-Caucasian guy. Must look like the guy who spent a little too much time looking at your wee wee in the shower after 8th-grade gym. Also, must be a tad more sinister looking than the governor of the state of North Carolina

Also, it doesn’t help that they picked a shot of McCrory that looks like he’s straining as if to…well, you know

Another great “pushback’ initiative is this video, which looks like it was shot by a mid 40s dad, who was trying out his iPhone upgrade

Governor McCrory looks into the camera earnestly and appeals to North Carolinians to put away the rancorous politics and work for solutions to make HB2 better

  1. You created the rancor. This is sort of like the guy who cut one decrying the lack of air quality in the car. He who smelt it, dealt it, guv
  2. Why does it need to be fixed? You didn’t sign an unsustainable bill into law just for political gain, did you, Pat?

Previously, I looked at McCrory’s curious, consultant-driven use of language and I found an interesting tidbit in his 5-minute “Pushback Video”. He uses the phrase “expectation of privacy” three times, which I found very interesting. First, because I’ve never, personally, had much of an expectation of privacy when I use a public restroom. It has the word public right before the word restroom and that lets me know that, in many cases, people can walk in while I’m doing my business and they can see me in the throes of answering nature’s call. So, my “expectation of privacy” isn’t much

But, when I’m having a medical procedure done, that’s a different story

You see, Mr. McCrory signed a bill into law last year that would have some interesting consequences on women seeking abortions

The bill also requires doctors who perform abortions in which the fetus is older than 16 weeks to send an image of the ultrasound and other information to the state Department of Health and Human Services. No other state requires that

And, gosh, we know that stuff that’s sent to government entities never gets leaked to the public. And who knows who might see these images in the doctor’s office and as HHS. So, it seems, when it comes to privacy, Mr. McCrory’s concern ends at the urinal

But, hey, at least he’s not advocating that women who get an abortion be punished, like the (likely) guy at the top of the ballot. Well, at least, he isn’t yet

But, this wasn’t Pat’s first crack at putting restrictions on the procedure. In 2013, the state passed the infamous “Motorcyle Abortion” law, which made the agonizing, private decision of some women even more difficult. It may be difficult to remember this one, as it was many belly laughs ago, but it was one of the governor’s first forays into making the state he (allegedly) loves into a national punchline

You see, the word “privacy” has been, traditionally, a word that’s been used by pro-choice groups. While there is not an explicit “right to privacy”, the Supreme Court of the United States found that the Fourteenth Amendment, informed by the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments formed a de facto Right to Privacy in Roe v. Wade. I won’t bore you further with the legalize because we’re talking about language. Thus, the mantle of “privacy” has been carried as a banner by groups who advocate that abortion should be kept safe and legal. That is why it’s quite curious that an anti-choice governor like Pat McCrory should co-opt the language for his own purposes here

I expect that McCrory will continue down this path and claim that his vision advocates for a “freedom of choice”. The freedom to choose a urinal where you can be free from the prying eyes of some “creepy lurker” (see above pic) who just wants look at your willy. Something like that

It’s not that I dislike privacy, Pat. It’s just that I think a woman should have a greater expectation of it when she goes to the doctor than I do when I’m hitting the head at Applebee’s