NC Voters Trust Gov. Cooper Over Trump to Reopen State. By a Lot.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By Billy Ball

April 23, 2020

State’s numbers mirror anti-Trump sentiment in several swing states.

When it comes to re-opening NC after coronavirus, voters trust Gov. Roy Cooper more than they do President Trump, a new poll shows. By a lot.

The results, which were first reported Wednesday by The Hill, found 62% of voters in the state trust the governor over the president. The polling, conducted by the Democratic pollsters at Public Policy Polling, is particularly relevant this week. 

Cooper is under pressure from some conservatives and members of the Reopen NC group to lift social distancing restrictions at the end of April. The governor is scheduled to give an update on the pandemic Thursday afternoon, with his administration widely expected to announce specific plans to easing those restrictions this week.

However, the calls to lift restrictions come with COVID-19 infections and deaths still on the rise in North Carolina. Epidemiologists say the state risks exacerbating the outbreak if Cooper lifts all guidelines at the end of this month. 

North Carolina conservative leaders have been mixed on reopening the state thus far. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, the Republican challenging Cooper in this fall’s gubernatorial election, called this week for “urgency” from Cooper’s office on reopening the state. House Speaker Tim Moore has been more guarded, saying that reopening requires a “very careful balance,” NC Policy Watch reported this week.

The new polling indicated Cooper’s numbers are mirrored in several swing states, with voters preferring the leadership of their Democratic governors over Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

In addition, here are some very important findings in the polling, as reported by The Hill:

On average, only 19 percent of voters in the states think social distancing measures should be relaxed.

In Michigan, 18 percent expressed support for loosening restrictions while in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the percentage of respondents in favor of easing social distancing stood at 16 percent, 17 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

More than 50 percent of respondents — ranging from 52 percent in North Carolina to 57 percent in Michigan — said social distancing guidelines now in place are “the right thing.”

There’s little support for easing social distancing rules even among Trump supporters, according to the survey.

In Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, only 34 percent of Trump voters on average said distancing measures should be relaxed — with support for loosening requirements standing at 36 percent, 28 percent, 32 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

PPP surveyed 1,277 Michigan voters, 1,275 North Carolina voters, and 1,251 Pennsylvania voters on April 20 and April 21. It surveyed 1,415 Wisconsin voters on April 20. Margins of error were not released. The survey pool included a mix of male and female voters who supported Trump, Clinton, a third-party candidate or did not vote in 2016.

Check back with Cardinal & Pine this afternoon for more coronavirus updates.     


  • Billy Ball

    Billy Ball is Cardinal & Pine's senior community editor. He’s covered local, state and national politics, government, education, criminal justice, the environment and immigration in North Carolina for almost two decades, winning state, regional and national awards for his reporting and commentary.

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