North Carolina voters have a pretty even-handed, bipartisan impression of state government leaders, according to recent polls: No matter which party is in power, surveys suggest, they all stink.
Public Policy Polling last May surveyed likely voters to find out how they feel about outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat. The answers won’t exactly light up Perdue’s resume.
About 57 percent of those surveyed said they disapproved of the way Perdue performed her duties as governor. Only 34 percent of those contacted said she was doing a good job. Not only did those approval ratings mark the lowest point for Perdue since she took office in 2009, they also were among the lowest approval ratings for any governor in any state in the country.
But wait ... there’s more. Another survey conducted by Public Policy Polling last month found that North Carolina voters have even less respect for the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly. Only 16 percent of those polled have a favorable view of the way the General Assembly is performing its duties.
Every spare second of television time seems filled with the kind of partisan finger-pointing that sadly has become a fixture of American politics. But if the politicians would take a moment to consider the impressions they’ve left on the people they’re supposed to serve, they might have a more realistic view of themselves.
Given North Carolina’s high unemployment rate and the frustration many people have with the slow pace of the economic recovery, the results of both polls probably reflect dissatisfaction with quality of life more than they do the performances of state leaders.
Even so, redistricting remains a process by which incumbent legislators try to ensure they remain in office. That was the case when the General Assembly was under Democratic control for more than 100 years. It remains the case now, under Republican rule.
Lawmakers might find a better sense of trust and approval from voters if they spent more time addressing tough issues and less time running for office.