by Rick Henderson
Editor-in-Chief, Carolina Journal
• More polling data is out, this time by Elon University. The survey of 867 residents (including 773 registered voters) finds President Obama and Gov. Pat McCrory each with approval ratings of around 40 percent among voters. McCrory’s net approval rating is slightly positive, however, while Obama’s disapproval rating is pushing 50 percent. Obamacare remains unpopular, with 49 percent of voters giving the health insurance law negative reviews, compared with 36 percent approving it. The most important issues for residents? Education, followed by jobs/wages, and the economy. The poll also has preliminary 2016 presidential results, with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush leading their respective parties but with many voters committed to no candidate.
• But when will Tar Heel State voters decide? State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope has asked the General Assembly to move North Carolina’s 2016 presidential primary to March 1, potentially joining a half-dozen other Southern states — Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi — in an early Super Tuesday. The primary now is set for late February, immediately after South Carolina’s contest. But the Republican National Committee has threatened to slash the number of nominating delegates from states moving their primaries to February, so Pope says the March 1 date would end the threat of those penalties.
• A rematch? Roll Call reports that top Republican Party political operatives have hinted that former congressional staffer Taylor Griffin, who came within 6 points of defeating longtime Rep. Walter Jones Jr. in the 2014 GOP primary for the 3rd Congressional District, will face Jones again next year. Griffin benefited from more than $1 million in spending from hawkish independent groups attacking Jones’ libertarian-leaning stances on foreign policy and other issues. Jones has said he will seek a 12th term in Congress.
• Freshman Rep. David Rouzer, R-7th District, is one of eight founding members of the Coastal Communities Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members serving districts along the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans along with the Gulf of Mexico. The caucus will focus on legislation regarding tourism and beach erosion, among other issues. Rouzer has spoken to groups in his district about beach renourishment funding.