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
The Washington Post/ABC News poll released today shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney on women’s issues, international affairs, middle class protection and health care. Obama also is seen as more likable, and he has a huge advantage with female voters.
The national poll results reflect trends the Elon University Poll saw in its two most recent surveys.
And, the Washington Post/ABC News poll results suggest that on the most important issue to Americans — the economy — the GOP has some opportunities because Obama’s support there is weak. Our poll of North Carolina residents indicated the same thing.
Bear in mind, the general election is seven months away — an eternity in politics.
— John Robinson
Last year, the General Assembly passed a bill requiring voters show a photo ID before casting a ballot. Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the legislation, saying it would unfairly disenfranchise voters.
What do North Carolinians think? It’s not even close. Seventy-four percent support the idea of a photo ID requirement before voting, according to the Elon University Poll.
There’s a good chance it will come up again next month when the state legislature convenes for its short session. Some Republicans say they have the votes to overturn the governor’s veto.
Requiring a photo ID to vote is a major GOP initiative that has gathered steam across the country. So far this year, nine states have passed voter photo ID laws. Republicans assert that it ensures against voter fraud. Critics say it could hurt voter turnout, particularly among students, African-Americans and elderly people.
The Justice Department has challenged the laws in Texas and South Carolina using its powers under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to review changes to voting laws in states with a history of racial discrimination. Both states are suing the department.
From the Charlotte Observer: In North Carolina, more than 800,000 people statewide don’t have photo identification from the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to a State Board of Elections and DMV analysis. More than a half-million North Carolinians – 556,513 – have no identification at all.
— John Robinson
As Rick Santorum wins delegates in Louisiana Saturday, the Los Angeles Times publishes a new poll of California Republicans today.
(Mitt) Romney won 42% of registered Republican voters, with his closest rival, Rick Santorum, trailing by 19 points, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were a distant third and fourth.
Yet there remains a palpable lack of enthusiasm for the Republican field. Half of GOP voters said they wished other candidates were running for president.
The California primary is June 5.
Two and a half weeks ago, the Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?”
Forty-eight disapproved and 45% approved.
Last week, PPP asked North Carolinians,”Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?”
Forty-nine percent disapproved and 49% approved.
Not much change. With the margins of error, it’s pretty much deadlocked.
Here is a comparison of the Elon Poll and PPP on the people’s evaluation of the Republican presidential contenders.
Romney is viewed favorably by 34% in Elon’s poll, 31% in PPP’s.
Santorum is viewed favorably by 32% in Elon’s poll, 36% in PPP’s.
Paul is viewed favorably by 33% in Elon’s poll, 27% in PPP’s.
Gingrich is viewed favorably by 23% in Elon’s poll, 28% in PPP’s.
It’s fair to say that it remains anyone’s race on the GOP’s side in North Carolina.
— John Robinson