The race for N.C. governor: what’s his name?

The most obvious conclusion from the Elon University Poll on the gubernatorial race? It hasn’t really started yet.

The leading GOP candidate, Pat McCrory? Half of the respondents don’t know enough to have an opinion of him.

The Democrats? Bob Etheridge, who is probably the best known candidate, given his years as State Superintendent of Public Instruction and in Congress, gets 60% on the “don’t know” meter. Sixty-eight percent don’t know enough about Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, and 77% don’t know enough about State Rep. Bill Faison.

It’s no wonder that McCrory isn’t campaigning much. There’s no reason as he’s headed to an easy primary win and should keep his powder dry — and money saved — until after Labor Day.

But the Democrats? Yikes! A week before the poll was in the field, the Democratic candidates debated the issues and each other three times. The debates were televised. Presumably their names were fresh on voters’ minds. Seemingly few of the 640 people we polled watched or were able to draw conclusions about the candidates. Primary Day is a week away and a majority of the population doesn’t know enough about any of the Democratic candidates to have an opinion. Scary. Let’s hope that those who actually show up to vote have an idea.

Interestingly, 57% of respondents told us that they are following the primary closely. Presumably they meant the presidential primary.

— John Robinson

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