Last week, the Elon University Poll surveyed people across North Carolina about their opinion on state and national leadership as well as social issues.

More than 925 registered voters were polled via telephone from Feb. 23-26.  Students asked questions about gay marriage, the Affordable Care Act and Sen. Kay Hagan’s, D-N.C., leadership in order to gauge the North Carolinian political climate going into the midterm elections and the short legislative session.

The study found public approval of Gov. Pat McCrory’s job performance was at 35.6 percent, up slightly from 33.3 percent last year.

Approval of the N.C. General Assembly dropped from 31.7 percent to 28.2 percent. The cause of the decrease in approval is hard to pinpoint since the General Assembly has not convened since the last poll was conducted.

Going into the midterm elections, Senator Hagan faces several challenges to her seat. The Elon Poll numbers do not bode well for Hagan’s re-election campaign. Only one-third of registered voters approve of Hagan’s job performance, with 49 percent of respondents saying they disapproved of the way Hagan was handling her job as senator.

Among Democrats, 55 percent favored her, down from 63 percent last November.

“Kay Hagan’s slight drop in approval rating would not necessarily be a concern by itself. However, this is the fourth straight fall in a year.  And this last decline occurred when many elected counterparts saw increases in approval ratings,” said Jason Husser, assistant director of the Elon Poll. “The trend suggests the senator will face a tougher-than-expected re-election battle this November.”

A leading Republican candidate running against Hagan, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, has struggled with name recognition. Thirty-eight percent of registered voters recognized Tillis’ name, up from 28 percent last November. Among those who recognized the name, only 18 percent reported they had a favorable opinion of him.

Congressional approval ratings remain low, having dipped below single digits in November. At 8 percent approval, the poll detected a slight increase in congressional approval compared to the poll conducted during the debt ceiling crisis.

President Barack Obama saw a two-point increase in approval, up to 39 percent.

Over half of respondents said they believe the Affordable Care Act would make the overall healthcare situation in North Carolina worse in the long run. Public opinion on the Affordable Care Act has not shifted since the November poll, despite campaigns by both parties to attack or bolster the program.