Metro Weekly

Poll: Anti-LGBT law is hurting Pat McCrory’s re-election chances

Voters say North Carolina's anti-LGBT law has had a negative effect on the state's economy and national reputation

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (Credit: Office of the Governor)
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (Credit: Office of the Governor)

A new poll out of North Carolina finds Gov. Pat McCrory slightly behind in his bid for re-election. The poll also has disappointing news for the governor, particularly with respect to his approval rating and his handling of the state’s anti-LGBT HB 2 law.

Conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling from Aug.5-7, the poll asked 830 likely voters about McCrory’s re-election prospects. Forty-two percent said they’d re-elect the Republican governor, while 43 percent favored his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper.

McCrory’s approval rating, however, is even worse — only 37 percent of voters believe he’s doing a good job as governor.

Most telling is the polling on HB 2, North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. Only 30 percent of voters support the law, which prohibits localities from passing pro-LGBT ordinances and restricts transgender people’s access to public restrooms. Forty-three percent of voters disapprove of the law. Twenty-seven percent are not sure about it.

By similar proportions, voters also say McCrory’s handling of the law makes them less likely to re-elect him.

“If not for HB 2, Pat McCrory might be favored for re-election right now,” Dean Debnam, the president of Public Policy Polling, said in a press release. “But that issue extinguished any remaining chance he had of getting the kind of support from Democrats and independents that he did in 2012, and now he’s fighting an uphill battle to get a second term.”

Overall, though, the takeaway from the poll is bad news, particularly with respect to HB 2, which most people think is hurting the state, both economically and in terms of reputation. Voters also believe the law is not doing what it was intended to do.

When asked if they thought HB 2 was helping or hurting the state, North Carolina voters said by a 58-22 margin that it was hurting. Fifty-eight percent of voters say the law has had a negative impact on North Carolina’s economy, and 55 percent say it’s hurt the Tar Heel State’s reputation nationally.

Noting that much of the rhetoric by supporters of HB 2 has stressed that the law is essential to keeping women safe from potential predators in public restrooms, Public Policy Polling also noted that only 29 percent of voters believe the law has made their state safer. But exactly half (50%) of all voters believe HB 2 has not made the state safer at all.

Related: North Carolina’s governor is angry that the NBA doesn’t like his anti-LGBT law

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