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Gov. Roy Cooper’s job approval takes a dip; President Trump’s job disapproval climbs

June 3, 2020


RALEIGH – The latest Civitas Poll found that support for Gov. Roy Cooper among likely North Carolina voters is beginning to wane. The governor’s job approval is now at 63% (a 7% decrease since April 7, 2020) and his disapproval has climbed by 9%, going from 24% in April to 33%.

President Donald Trump’s job approval remained mostly static between the beginning of April and the end of May, dipping from 52% to 51%. His job disapproval crept up by 3%, moving from 45% to 48%, making over a 20-point downward descent among unaffiliated voters, the fastest growing voting bloc in the state.

“It appears that the ‘rally ’round the flag’ effect that we saw at the start of the COVID-19 crisis has peaked for both President Trump and Gov. Cooper,” said Civitas President Donald Bryson. “A new wave of civil unrest has hit the nation since the poll came out of the field, and the economy has not completely reopened due to COVID-19, so it will be interesting to see how these numbers settle in our August poll.”

Survey respondents were also asked, “If the presidential election were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Republican Donald Trump OR Democrat Joe Biden?” President Trump maintains a lead over former Vice President Joe Biden, but only marginally, with 47% saying they would vote for Trump and 44% expressing their preference for Biden.

Similar questions were asked for the US Senate and gubernatorial races:

US Senate

Thom Tillis (R) Cal Cunningham (D) Shannon Bray (L) Kevin Hayes (CP) Undecided
38% 36% 3% 2% 21%


Dan Forest (R) Roy Cooper (D) Steven DiFiore (L) Al Pisano (CP) Undecided
37% 49% 1% 1% 13%

Bryson continued, “The races for the White House and U.S. Senate are competitive, to no one’s surprise, and will continue to be ‘races to watch’ for the nation. However, I’m also watching North Carolina’s gubernatorial race. While Gov. Cooper has a substantial lead, there has been something of a shift, and it will be interesting to see where both camps have to start with a condensed campaign schedule this fall.”

Questions regarding reopening the state were also asked. Those surveyed were asked whether they believed the governor’s economic reopening of the state has gone too fast, too slow, or about right. The majority (51%) believed it was about right, followed by just over a quarter that said it was too slow (26%), and 19% stating it was too fast.

This allocation of opinion on reopening provides insight into a follow up question North Carolinians were asked about health versus economic concerns:

“As of May 22, there are 21,780 positive cases of coronavirus in North Carolina. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers in North Carolina increased by 357,000 in April to a total of 573,000. Knowing that both are a priority, which do you think should be the higher priority for state lawmakers – the health crisis or the economic crisis?”

Health crisis 48%
Economic crisis 40%
Unsure/Refused 11%

Methodology: The sample size for the survey is 500 likely general election voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is +/-4.38% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if this survey were repeated, results would not vary from the population by more than 4.38 percentage points 19 times out of 20.  Responses were gathered via landline and mobile telephone interviews conducted by live callers at a professional call center. Demographics were adjusted to reflect the population from which the sample was drawn. The survey was conducted May 26 – 28, 2020 by Harper Polling. The total percentages of responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.


For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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