|Poll||Date||Sample||Ellmers (R)||Etheridge (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||49.5||48.7||Ellmers +0.8|
|SurveyUSA||10/21 - 10/24||400 RV||46||41||Ellmers +5|
|SurveyUSA||6/15 - 6/16||400 RV||39||38||Ellmers +1|
|2008: Etheridge (D) 67%, Mansell (R) 31%||2008: Obama (D) 52%, McCain (R) 47%
|2006: Etheridge (D) 67%, Mansell (R) 33%||2004: Bush (R) 55%, Kerry (D) 45%|
|2004: Etheridge (D) 62%, Creech (R) 38%||2000: Bush (R) 53%, Gore (D) 47%|
10/28/10 -- SurveyUSA now shows Etheridge down, among registered voters. A quick peek at the internals shows Etheridge trailing even more among those most likely to vote. This isn't where an incumbent wants to be five days before the election.
North Carolina’s 2nd District is a mishmash of precincts including parts of metro Fayetteville and Raleigh. Although it leans slightly toward Republicans at the presidential level, it is quite a bit more heavily Democratic at the state and local level. In 2008 -- a good Democratic year overall -- Democrats carried the district up and down the ticket. On average, Democrats ran about five points above their statewide average here. The only race Republicans came close to carrying in this district was the agricultural commissioner race; the Democrats won the other races by double digits.
Bob Etheridge won the district in 1996 after its GOP winner, David Funderburk, imploded under a DUI scandal. He has generally thrived in the district by compiling a centrist voting record. This has placed him more in line with the state Democrats, who perform well in the district, than with the national Democrats, whose track record is more problematic.
This time around, however, Etheridge has generally voted the national Democratic line, earning a 95 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action. He voted for the stimulus package, for "cap and trade" legislation and for the healthcare bill. More to the point, he was caught on tape in an altercation with two reporters who refused to identify themselves. The tape went viral (more than two million views as of today), and Etheridge was forced to apologize.
A SurveyUSA poll commissioned in the immediate aftermath of the affair showed Etheridge trailing his GOP opponent, nurse Renee Ellmers, by a point, 39-38. But Ellmers’ $41,000 cash-on-hand at the end of the second quarter is uninspiring. If she can step up her fundraising, Ellmers could be the next Funderburk, and Etheridge the next Martin Lancaster.