Under the Dome: Who’s leading in a poll of the governor’s race, and Tillis claps back


Welcome to your Sunday Under the Dome newsletter all about the governor’s race. Dawn Vaughan here, The News & Observer’s Capitol bureau chief. The general election is more than seven months away, but that doesn’t matter when you’re a battleground state.

Which brings me to the latest Marist Poll, which pollsters called “The Battleground 2024: North Carolina.” The poll results show a close race for president, with President Joe Biden at 48% compared to former President Donald Trump’s 51% when it comes to registered voters in the state “who say they definitely plan to vote in the general election.”

But we’re focused on the governor’s race, which is even closer: the Marist Poll shows Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein with 49% of support from registered voters compared to Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson with 47%. Interestingly, the same poll shows that a lot of people still don’t know who either of them even are. The poll showed 42% of people didn’t know who Stein was or how to rate him, and that 31% didn’t know who Robinson is or how to rate him.

Robinson made immigration a campaign issue this week by holding a news conference asking for answers from the federal government about Awet Hagos, the Gates County man reportedly on the terrorist watch list who was arrested on several charges related to an hours-long standoff with police. I wrote about what we knew at the time and followed up with what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, told me about Hagos.

IVF and Robinson; Thom Tillis weighs in

I have a few updates for you from last week’s newsletter.

I wrote about Stein holding a press conference with U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross about wanting to protect in-vitro fertilization, known as IVF, after Alabama’s abortion law threatened the procedure used by many women to become pregnant. Robinson’s campaign responded this week by sharing his position on IVF.

“Mark Robinson wants to turn North Carolina into a destination state for life by creating a culture that will do more to support families that choose life — and this certainly includes protecting IVF,” Robinson spokesperson Mike Lonergan said in a statement, going on to say that the Alabama ruling doesn’t apply to North Carolina and saying that Stein was making it a campaign issue.

And I also told you about Robinson essentially trash-talking U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis on Fox Radio, and that he’s “not interested in anything that Thom Tillis has to say.”

Tillis has since told a Huffington Post reporter in response that, “The feeling’s mutual.”

Stay informed

Don’t forget to follow our Under the Dome tweets and listen to our Under the Dome podcast to stay up to date. My guest for the March 25 podcast is state Rep. Maria Cervania, a Cary Democrat. She had a lot to say about how she operates as a very progressive freshman when it comes to working with her entire Democratic caucus but also finds common ground with more Republicans than you might think. Be sure to listen Monday morning when that posts.

You can sign up to receive the Under the Dome newsletter at newsobserver.com/newsletters. Want your friends to get our email, too? Forward them this newsletter so they can sign up here.





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