It’s like déjà vu all over again. The same thread runs through the Governor’s race that runs through the Presidential race. If you like President Bush you vote for McCrory. If you dislike President Bush you vote for Perdue – except for the Republicans who are unfavorable to the President, but who come home and vote for McCrory for Governor.
And, just like in the Presidential race, the remnant of Jessecrats – 7 percent of the vote – who like President Bush, vote for Pat McCrory. So McCrory leads Bev Perdue by an eyelash:
Pat McCrory 42.5
Beverly Perdue 42.0
And there’s more good news for McCrory. The undecided voters like him better than Perdue:
Favorable 34 26
Unfavorable 9 23
And here’s even better news for McCrory: The undecided voters in his race are voting for John McCain for President:
McCain may not have long coat tails but McCrory ought to hang onto them for all he’s worth – that 51% can make him governor.
Now, no doubt Bev Perdue’s pollster’s been scrambling around, frantically trying to find an answer to how she wins those undecided votes and, more than likely, he’s lit on one number: These undecided voters are also unfavorable to President Bush:
So – just like Obama – Perdue’s running an ad with Pat McCrory saying, ‘George Bush is a great President.’
The problem is this still leaves Perdue a tad short of fifty percent – she needs a bit more, but the signs are not favorable.
Here’s another big change in this year’s Governor’s race: For decades – in almost every governor’s race – voters have said the issue they care about most is: Education. But not this year. The economic meltdown has taken care of that. Education has dropped to fourth, mentioned by only 4% of the voters. What issues are most important to voters:
Tax Cuts 6.1%
Higher Wages 3.4%
Gas Prices 3.4%
Health Insurance 2.4%
Property Taxes 1.9%
Over two-thirds of the voters said economic issues – and those voters are favoring Pat McCrory over Bev Perdue. Jim Hunt won 4 elections as the Education Governor. But this year voters want to elect a governor who will fix the economy.
The other issue that boosts McCrory is corruption in state government. A whopping 92% of the voters say they want a governor who will clean up state government and they think McCrory is more likely to do it than Perdue:
Don’t know 15%
And since voters are concerned about corruption, they’re weighing the candidates’ character more and their stands on the issues less. When asked what matters most, a candidate’s honesty and integrity or where he or she stands on issues, voters said:
Stands on Issues 42%
Voters who said issues supported Perdue.
Voters who said character supported McCrory.
Lastly, there’s one odd geographical twist in this election.
Voters in the west and the east are more undecided than their urban compatriots across the middle of the state.
In the east McCrory has what looks like a ‘rural’ problem – he’s a suburban mayor while Perdue has a down home drawl – she sounds like a ‘good ole girl.’ McCrory may have a hard time in the east.
In the west it’s almost like both McCrory and Perdue are running half-campaigns. Neither’s message has gotten through. But the west – which historically leans Republican – may be better ground for McCrory.
Bottom line: McCrory should hang on tight to McCain’s coattails and as long as nothing happens to increase President Bush’s unfavorable ratings, McCrory’s in an excellent position to win. Beyond Bush, the governor’s race is about the economy, corruption and character.
Tomorrow…the Senate Race.
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