Political notebook: Poll shows NC’s senate race within margin of error

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 25, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

The latest poll released this week shows a tight race in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race between two-term Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Deborah Ross.

Burr has a three-point lead over Ross in the latest poll from Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, which surveyed 947 voters on June 20 and 21. Burr polled at 40 percent. Ross polled at 37 percent. Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh received 5 percent of voter support in the survey from Public Policy Polling.

Polling results for Burr and Ross sit within the margin for error.

“Richard Burr’s the most vulnerable Republican Senator that no one’s talking about,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “His numbers aren’t any better than those of folks like Pat Toomey and Rob Portman who are widely accepted to be facing tough reelections.”

Public Policy Polling also tested approval ratings for Burr and Ross. It found 30 percent of voters approve of the job Burr is doing. It found Ross is unknown, with 62 percent of voters having no opinion about her.

In the presidential race, Public Policy Polling found both Trump and Clinton even at 43 percent each when other candidates were included. Libertarian Gary Johnson polled at 4 percent, Green Party candidate Jill Stein polled at 2 percent and 7 percent were undecided.

Gun control debate consumes national attention

Republicans and Democrats haven’t been able to agree on gun safety legislation, and votes this week show the partisan divide.

In the nearly two weeks since a gunman killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, terrorism and gun control have consumed the national political conversation. In the U.S. Senate, a series of measures designed to address gun safety all failed largely along party lines.

North Carolina’s senators — both of whom voted in the same manner on gun control measures — received some criticism for voting against measures introduced by Democrats. However, the exact same points used to criticize Republicans were used to tout a vote by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

The subject line of an email sent out by Tillis’ office stated: “Tillis votes to prevent terrorists from being able to purchase firearms.”

Criticism of Republicans would have suggested they did the opposite.

The subject line of an email sent out by the Ross’ campaign stated “Burr votes against stopping suspected terrorists from buying guns.”

The measure Tillis and Burr voted for was introduced by Republican Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Tillis and Burr voted against a separate measure introduced by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca.

The major difference between the two relates to hurdles faced by gun buyers. Cornyn’s measure would have placed a 72-hour delay on gun purchases for people on the terror watch list. Feinstein’s proposal would have entirely blocked purchases for people on the terror watch list.

In his emailed news release, Tillis said Cornyn’s amendment would uphold the “due process rights of American citizens.”

“While some in Washington unfortunately seem intent on advancing an incredibly polarizing agenda, all members of Congress need to start working together, within the framework of the Constitution, to address the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists both at home and abroad,” Tillis said in the release.

Hudson reacts to Supreme Court ruling

One of Rowan County’s members of Congress cheered a 4-4 tie by U.S. Supreme Court justices this week.

Down one Supreme Court justice, the U.S. Supreme Court tied in a chase that challenged President Barrack Obama’s immigration plan. Because of the tie, a lower appeals court ruling remains in place. The ruling applies to Obama’s 2014 executive action, which could have prevented as many as five million unauthorized immigrants from being deported.

Republicans have called the action illegal amnesty. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, has been among critics of Obama’s executive action. The Supreme Court ruling proves Obama’s actions were illegal, Hudson said.

“When the president bypassed Congress and the American people’s concerns to unilaterally rewrite our nation’s immigration laws and grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he abused our nation’s separation of powers and the rule of law,” Hudson said in a news release.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.