Support for Republicans on top-of-ballot races in North Carolina has declined slightly over the past two months, while support for Democrats has remained steady, according to the latest Carolina Journal poll of likely voters.

Republican Mark Robinson and Democrat Josh Stein are in a statistical dead heat for the governor’s mansion at 39% support apiece. Robinson’s support declined from April when it stood at 44%, while Stein’s remained steady at 39% since March. Libertarian candidate Mike Ross picked up support, from 2% in March to 4% this month.

Robinson is the current lieutenant governor and Stein is the current attorney general.

“The lead Mark Robinson enjoyed earlier this year is all but gone,” said Carolina Journal publisher and John Locke Foundation CEO Donald Bryson. “This has not translated in a significant bump in Stein’s numbers, but rather an increase in support for third party candidates and undecided voters. Both Stein and Robinson campaigns will have to put in overtime to pull out a win in this race.”

Meanwhile, the spread in the race for president is wider, at 43% support for former President Donald Trump and 38% support for President Joe Biden. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s support stood at 9%.

One of the more consequential statewide races this year is for the NC Supreme Court. That race between Democrat Allison Riggs and Republican Jefferson Griffin is deadlocked at 39% support for Riggs and 40% support for Griffin.

According to the poll results, Republicans maintained an advantage on the generic ballot for legislative and congressional offices. Forty-seven percent would support the GOP for the generic legislative ballot and 43% would pick a Democrat, while 48% picked Republicans for Congress and 43% a Democrat for the same offices. Those numbers are largely unchanged from the April CJ poll.

Approval ratings for President Joe Biden and NC Gov. Roy Cooper remained steady as well, at 36% and 44%, respectively. Fifty-seven percent disapproved of Biden’s performance in office and 38% gave a thumbs down to Cooper.

The CJ poll also queried voter attitudes on a range of hot-button topics. One of those is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — or DEI — agenda. A plurality of voters, 39%, oppose completely eliminating DEI from policy handbooks, while a similar portion support removing it, 35%.

More than half of voters believe the state is taxing too much, and 41% would like to see a rule passed to return any state budget surplus to taxpayers. Seventeen percent would like to use the surplus to expand the state budget, and 16% would prefer that lawmakers save the money for future emergencies.

“While the government is happy to see a surplus over a deficit, taxpayers want their money back,” said Bryson. “After consecutive years of surplus and a healthy rainy-day fund, now is the time to return taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

One of the more controversial recent spending decisions by the General Assembly is the approval of $500 million in funding in the new budget for NCInnovation, a private nonprofit created by some business leaders in 2018. A plurality of voters say they oppose the NCInnovation budget pledge. 

On the question of the legalization of video gambling in North Carolina, 47% of likely voters oppose the idea while 21% support and 24% are neutral. A majority of voters, 66%, support local sheriffs cooperating with ICE. These support levels hold across party lines: Republicans at 90%, Independents at 60%, and Democrats at 49%.

The poll surveyed 600 likely general election voters and has a plus or minus margin of error of about 4%.