“Undecided” leads gubernatorial race

There is only one conclusion to draw from the latest Elon University Poll on the governor’s race: North Carolinians are not engaged. At all. Seriously.

But wait! Don’t stop reading. There’s a quiz at the end of this post.

Back to the governor’s race. Respondents were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of each of 11 candidates. For each candidate, at least half of the people said they didn’t know or were unable to judge.

People aren’t tuned into the race yet, but that’s OK. The candidates aren’t either. Thank Gov. Bev Perdue for that. When she made the surprise announcement in January that she was not going to seek re-election, she more than stirred the political pot — she flipped it over, and it hasn’t been righted yet.

Republican Pat McCrory ran a statewide campaign in 2008 when he lost to Purdue by 3 percentage points and was endorsed by the newspapers in Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham and Asheville. In the Elon Poll, he is viewed most favorably — 33%.  Fifty-four percent said they didn’t know him well enough to judge.

Among Democrats, Bob Etheridge, who served in Congress 14 years and was State Superintendent of Public Instruction for 8 years before that, is viewed favorably by 16%. Sixty-eight percent said they didn’t know him well enough.

Here’s the most interesting observation: It says something about the position of lieutenant governor when 80% of the respondents said they are “unable to judge” or “don’t know” enough about the man in the job to have an opinion about him. Do you know who he is?

— John Robinson

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