Pat McCrory is the current governor of North Carolina. He is a Republican and of course, North Carolina is not an especially liberal state. But it is not Mississippi either. In recent years, it has become known as a purple state. As a result of that, when McCrory was running for office, he appealed to moderates by claiming that he would not sign any new bills that limited abortion access. And then, just over 6 months into his term (30 July 2013), he signed a bill that limited abortion access.
As much as cynics will tell you that politicians always break their promises, that simply isn’t true. Modern politicians are actually quite careful about following through with their campaign promises. Of course, as voters, we need to be careful with what exactly politicians say. Because they know how carefully they are watched, they will say things like, “I will introduce a bill to build an interstellar spaceship.” They don’t claim that they will make it law, much less that they will get the spaceship built. So it really is a big deal when politicians break their promises.
So it comes as no surprise that Pat McCrory has seen his approval ratings plummet. According to Public Policy Polling, his approval rating has gone down to just 35% with 53% disapproval. And the support has been lost across the board. His approval with Republicans has fallen from 69% to 62%. Most of the drop in approval over the last month is not about the abortion bill. As of a month ago, all liberal and moderate voters had abandoned him. And now his approval/disapproval rating is 9/82 among Democrats and 29/49 among independents. But the overall disapproval is about the abortion bill. As you can see, he still has high approval ratings among Republicans.
Of course, McCrory doesn’t admit to breaking the promise to not limit access to abortion. After signing the bill, he released a statement, “This law does not further limit access, and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens.” But we know even he doesn’t believe that. When the bill was first passed by the legislature, he indicated that he would veto it. So minor changes were made to allow him wiggle room, and he signed it. Voters know when they are being finessed. And they don’t like it. I think he would be liked more if he just admitted what he did.
But here’s the thing. We see this again and again. Moderate populations vote in Republicans who claim that they will govern moderately. And right out of the gate, the Republicans show that their notions of “moderation” are quite different from the voters’. For example, most people in North Carolina thought that not limiting access to abortion meant that no clinics would be closed. McCrory, on the other hand, thought it meant not all clinics would be closed. (BTW: even that isn’t clear.) My question to my fellow Americans is this: when are you going to stop falling for this? North Carolina is stuck with McCrory for another three and a half years!
The ultimate law of voting: “If you elect a Republican, you elect a Republican.”