By John Celock
North Carolina’s competitive gubernatorial race remains tight with less than week to go.
A Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday shows that Democrat Roy Cooper leads Republican Gov. Pat McCrory 49 percent to 47 percent. The race between Cooper, the four-term state attorney general, and McCrory, a first term governor, has been the most competitive gubernatorial race in the country this year.
The poll shows that Cooper leads McCrory 57 percent to 38 percent among early voters, with McCrory leading among men 50 percent to 45 percent and Cooper leading among women 51 percent to 45 percent. McCrory leads among white voters 59 percent to 37 percent while the poll shows that Cooper leads among non-white voters 73 percent to 22 percent.
McCrory’s 2012 victory ushered in North Carolina’s first ever all Republican government, with the GOP holding majorities in both houses of the state Legislature. The slate of conservative legislation that followed led to a series of protests from progressive groups in front of the Capitol in Raleigh and helped Democrats put a laser like focus on targeting McCrory this year. Cooper has long been considered the Democratic frontrunner for governor this year.
Debates over a variety of issues, including taxes, energy, education and coal ash culminated in the bitter debate that has divided the state since earlier this year, when McCrory signed the state’s controversial transgender bathroom law. Cooper has pledged to repeal the law.
The gubernatorial race has factored into the presidential contest, which is close in North Carolina. During recent appearances in the state, President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have pushed for voters to vote for both Clinton and Cooper.