If you are scoring at home, there are 58 days to go before the end of the nasty political ad season. That is, if you live in one of the 10 battleground states, and North Carolina is one of those. Here is what Rob Christensen, political reporter for the News & Observer and a member of Elon Poll’s political panel last week, says:
Republicans were so certain of carrying the Tar Heel State last time that South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham famously boasted: “I’ll beat (multiple gold medal winner) Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina.”
After Obama improbably carried North Carolina in 2008, the first time since 1976 that a Democratic presidential candidate won the state, Republicans are making no such boasts this time. This summer, the state has endured a $50 million advertising barrage, with Romney and his allies outspending Obama by more than 2-to-1.
Meanwhile, some polls are showing a bounce for President Obama after the Democratic National Convention. We’ll see if it lasts longer than Gov. Romney’s.
With the presidential race picking up intensity with each passing day, the Elon University Poll is breaking with its long-standing tradition of surveying North Carolina residents. This week, we will poll likely voters in North Carolina with the results scheduled to be released on Sept. 3.
Labor Day is historically the unofficial kick off of the campaign season, although in reality the two presidential candidates have been running for months. The Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer, is purposely timing the poll to coincide with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
The results will be released at the Charlotte Observer at a 10:30 a.m. Monday news conference, followed immediately by a panel discussion examining the presidential campaign. On the panel are Charlie Cook, editor of Cook Political Report & National Journal columnist; Domenico Montanaro, NBC News deputy political editor; Anita Kumar, White House correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers; Rob Christensen, chief political writer for the News and Observer of Raleigh; and Taylor Batten, editorial page editor for the Charlotte Observer.
If you’re in Charlotte for the convention, please join us. We expect to get a look from the poll at how North Carolina voters are thinking and insight from the panel into state and presidential politics.
— John Robinson
Rob Christensen of the News & Observer traveled to Rocky Mount to put a human face on one of the results of the latest Elon University Poll: the worry over the economy. From his front-page story:
Asked what was the most important issue facing the state, North Carolinians overwhelmingly (53 percent) cited the economy. At 16 percent, education was a distant second.
Some small-business owners said they are holding on by their fingertips. Workers in the old economy such as textiles have seen their jobs disappear and are having to settle for work that pays a fraction of what they used to earn. Retirement plans are being delayed. And others, already living on the edge, find themselves pushed even further to the fringes.
— John Robinson