by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• NPR’s latest poll of 12 “battleground states” (including North Carolina) may give cheer to Republicans, especially those running for federal office (hint, hint Thom Tillis). President Obama’s approval rating, which Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics notes is the “the most important variable for how [any president’s] party fares in midterm elections,” is 38 percent in those states, with 58 percent disapproving. Among independents, it’s worse, with Obama’s rating at 33/63. Moreover, Republicans lead or tie Democrats in several crucial “who do you trust more” policy issues — the economy, health care, and (surprisingly) the future of the middle class. Candidates and campaigns matter, of course, but Democrats have reason to worry.
• Speaking of health care, the latest Manhattan Institute survey of medical insurance rates, pre- and post-Obamacare, shows rates continuing to surge in North Carolina. Statewide, every age and gender is seeing premiums rise from betweeen 75 percent and 196 percent, with even higher premium hikes in some counties. The survey does not include any tax subsidies insurance customers would receive, since there’s no way to identify who qualifies for them. In case you hadn’t heard, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan voted for Obamacare and has said she would do so again.
• It may be empty-chair time in the 6th Congressional District. Republican candidate Mark Walker is itching to debate runoff rival Phil Berger Jr. before the July 15 election, but Berger hasn’t agreed to participate at any of the events. The Greater Greensboro Women’s Republican Club has a debate scheduled Tuesday, which Walker will attend. If Berger doesn’t show, Walker will have the stage to himself.
• The two chambers of the General Assembly may be feuding, and planning to stay in Raleigh for awhile, but it looks as if the Moral Monday protesters are ready for summer vacation. The N.C. NAACP announced that Monday’s rally at the Legislative Building will be the last of the year.