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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- North Carolina

Perdue Numbers Drop Again

Two separate North Carolina-based polling organizations released new surveys today that found Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue's approval ratings hovering below 30 percent. Unfortunately for Perdue, this is nothing new for the governor still in her first year in office.

Public Policy Polling's survey found Perdue at her lowest mark yet -- 24 percent approval, as more Democrats (39%) now disapprove of the job she's doing than approve of it (38%).

These numbers, as we've written previously, stem from a down economy and a difficult budget process with the North Carolina Legislature, one that included raising taxes and cutting state services.

The Civitas Institute survey puts Perdue at 29 percent. Civitas also found 63 percent disapproving of the job she's doing -- easily her highest disapproval rating yet.

"While the number of voters approving of her job is holding steady, the number who said they disapprove is skyrocketing," said Civitas executive director Francis De Luca. "A lot of people dismiss job approval ratings this far from an election, but at some point Perdue has to see her numbers stabilize. According to these latest numbers, it appears her support continues to fall."

PPP's survey was conducted Oct. 2-4 of 683 RV with a +/- 3.8% margin of error. The Civitas survey was taken Sept. 29-30 of 600 RV with a +/- 4% margin of error.

Perdue's Approval Still Rock Bottom

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue's low approval ratings continue with the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, which finds twice as many people disapproving of the job she's doing. PPP reports that 27% approve and 52% disapprove, which is actually an improvement from last month when she had a 25%/55% approval rating.

Perdue, who served two terms as lieutenant governor, defeated Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) in 2008 by more than 3 points and won a higher percentage than Barack Obama, who narrowly defeated John McCain. However, Perdue came to office amid a recession that has hit North Carolina especially hard. After a six month legislative session, Perdue quietly signed on Friday a budget plan that adds $1 billion in new taxes and cuts $2 billion worth of previously state-funded programs.

In the PPP poll, which surveyed 749 registered voters from August 4-10 with a margin of error of +/- 3.6%, 57% said the Legislature provided stronger leadership on the budget, while 43% said Perdue did. "Given the near universal unpopularity of legislative bodies in both Washington and state capitals across the country, that's quite an unusual funding," the PPP press release stated.

NC: Gov Race Tied

An AP/GfK poll surveyed 601 likely voters 10/22-26 for a margin of error of +/- 4%. GOP Senator Elizabeth Dole, Democratic State Senator Kay Hagan and Libertarian Christopher Cole were tested in the Senate race. In the battle for governor, Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue, Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Libertarian Michael Munger were tested.

General Election Matchup
Hagan.......47
Dole........43
Cole........ 2

Perdue......44
McCrory.....44
Munger...... 4

Dole has been attacking Hagan for participating in a fundraiser which two prominent atheists attended, and Hagan is pushing back hard. A case of much ado about nothing, or could this sink one candidate for her associations or the other one for overreaching?

NC: Dems Lead

North Carolina has the potential to be a very bad state for Republicans come Election Day, but at least the party has a chance to steal a governor's mansion.

A DailyKos/Research 2000 poll conducted 10/14-15 surveyed 600 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4%. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, and Democrat Kay Hagan were tested in the Senate race, and Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory were tested in the governor's race.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Hagan....49 / 82 / 10 / 46 / 46 / 52 (+7 from last, 9/10)
Dole.....45 / 12 / 85 / 45 / 49 / 41 (-3)

Perdue...48 / 80 / 10 / 44 / 45 / 51 (+6)
McCrory..43 / 10 / 84 / 43 / 47 / 39 (-4)

Obama....46 / 76 / 8 / 47 / 42 / 50 (+8)
McCain...44 / 14 / 84 / 40 / 49 / 39 (-9)

Despite ads being run against her by conservative groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Freedom's Watch, Hagan's favorable rating is a very impressive 55% to 35% unfavorable. Dole hasn't led a poll for two weeks, and hasn't led a live-call poll for a month.

NC: Hagan, McCrory Lead

If there's a state in which change will dominate, it's North Carolina. The incumbent party trails the three races atop the ballot, according to a new poll. The TelOpinion Research poll, conducted for the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute, surveyed 600 likely voters between 10/6-8 for a margin of error of +/- 4%.

Senator Elizabeth Dole, Democrat Kay Hagan and Libertarian Chris Cole were matched up in the Senate race, while Democratic Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue, GOP Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and Libertarian Michael Munger were pitted against each other in the governor's race.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Hagan......45 / 68 / 15 / 44 / 44 / 46 (+4 from last, 9/20)
Dole.......42 / 17 / 77 / 41 / 43 / 41 (-2)
Cole....... 2 / 3 / 1 / 4 / 3 / 2 (-3)

McCrory....43 / 17 / 77 / 46 / 44 / 42 (no change)
Perdue.....41 / 64 / 13 / 32 / 41 / 41 (no change)
Munger.....-- / -- / -- / -- / -- / -- (-3)

The same poll shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by five points, 48%-43%. If you're an incumbent in North Carolina, you're in trouble.

NC: Dole, McCrory Lead

It may be the most polled state outside of Iowa and New Hampshire, but for the first time a poll has showed Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory with a significant lead over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue.

The poll, conducted by independent Research 2000 for DailyKos, surveyed 600 likely voters between 9/8-10 for a margin of error of +/- 4%. In the governor's race, Perdue and McCrory were tested, while in the Senate race, Republican Elizabeth Dole and Democratic state Senator Kay Hagan were tested. The sample was 44% Democratic, 35% Republican and 21% independent.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
McCrory....47 / 15 / 86 / 49 / 51 / 43
Perdue.....42 / 75 / 4 / 38 / 39 / 45

Dole.......48 / 18 / 87 / 46 / 53 / 43
Hagan......42 / 73 / 6 / 39 / 38 / 46

McCain.....55 / 23 / 91 / 62 / 59 / 51
Obama......38 / 69 / 4 / 31 / 34 / 42

The results aren't out of line with other polls, which have all showed close Senate and governor's races. But if accurate, the DailyKos poll shows a serious shift in recent weeks toward the GOP. Independents are breaking to Republicans across the board, and the Democratic base has either not come home yet or is seriously fractured.

Add Research 2000 to a mix that includes the Civitas Institute, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and pollsters for both campaigns, as well as dial-response pollsters Public Policy Polling, SurveyUSA and Rasmussen, all of whom have conducted surveys in North Carolina in the last month. If you're a Tarheel voter, you may have a better chance of answering a poll than residents of any other state. (Side note: Expect a new Civitas poll within days.)

NC: Perdue +6, Dole +2

Democratic hopes of winning big in North Carolina are more than a pipe dream, a new poll for Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue shows. All three races at the top of the ticket remain close, according to the survey.

The poll, conducted for Perdue's campaign by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, surveyed 605 likely voters between 9/5-7. In the governor's race, Perdue and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee, were tested. For Senate, incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole was matched up against State Senator Kay Hagan. The sample included 46% self-identified Democrats, 35% self-identified Republicans and 19% independent or other party voters.

General Election Matchups
Perdue.........46
McCrory........40

Dole...........48
Hagan..........46

McCain.........49
Obama..........46

In the survey memo, Fred Yang, one of the most respected North Carolina pollsters in Democratic politics, writes that Republicans are actually oversampled. Party registration figures with the Secretary of State's office show 45.3% of voters are registered Democrats, 32.7% are registered Republicans and the remaining 22% are affiliated with neither major party.

Republicans may point out that a poll conducted for a Democrat will be biased in favor of that candidate, but the numbers reflect others that show neck-and-neck contests. Democratic groups have spent more money advertising on behalf of Perdue and Hagan than Republican groups have on behalf of their candidates, contributing to those tight races.

An interesting side note: Perdue, a long-time presence in state politics, will be on the ballot as "Bev Perdue," using the shortened version of her first name. As far as we can tell, Yang is the only pollster to have tested her that way instead of as "Beverly."

RGA Up With New Ads

Republicans hit North Carolina's Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue in ad "Status Quo":

Democrats slam North Carolina's McCrory in their latest ad critical of his economic plan:

Republicans hit Washington's Gregoire in "American Idol":

One of Democrats' ads critical of Rossi's positions (For the rest, visit Evergreen Progress):

NC Gov: Perdue +2

The candidates are on television, independent groups have been hammering away at one more than the other, and the two have met for one debate. So why is the race for North Carolina Governor so static? According to a new poll, neither nominee is having a lot of success winning over voters.

The poll, conducted by Republican firm TelOpinion Research for the Civitas Institute, surveyed 600 registered voters between 8/14-17 for a margin of error of +/- 4.2%. Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue, the Democratic nominee, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican choice, were tested, along with Libertarian Michael Munger.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Perdue.........43 / 67 / 11 / 43 / 44 / 42 (no change from last, 7/16)
McCrory.......41 / 18 / 78 / 31 / 42 / 41 (+1)
Munger...........3 / 2 / 1 / 6 / 3 / 3 (+1)

The race has remained essentially static since May, when both Perdue and McCrory won their respective nominations. Both candidates are up with their own advertisements, but two Democratic-leaning unions have spent heavily with ads slamming McCrory, leaving observers in both parties surprised that the numbers haven't moved more.

McCrory has a big 53%-29% lead in his hometown Charlotte, as well as a smaller lead in the Republican-leaning Western half of the state. Offsetting those gaps are large Perdue margins among voters in the heavily Democratic Research Triangle, where she leads 59%-27%, and the northeastern part of the state.

The two candidates debated for the first time on Tuesday, but it's unlikely that meeting will cause many to change their minds, as it was competing for television viewers with the Olympics and a town hall meeting featuring Barack Obama. Neither candidate seriously goofed.

Dole, Perdue Lead

A new poll conducted for the conservative-leaning Civitas Institute in North Carolina shows Tar Heels will be treated to two good races this year. In the governor's race, the state features one of a very few around the country that look destined to be competitive, while Senator Elizabeth Dole continues to maintain a lead in her bid for re-election.

The survey, conducted for Civitas by the Republican firm Tel Opinion Research, polled 600 registered voters between 7/14-16 for a margin of error of +/- 4%. In the governor's race, Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, the Democratic nominee, Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and college professor Mike Munger, the Libertarian, were tested. For Senate, the poll tested Dole, State Senator Kay Hagan, her Democratic opponent, and Libertarian Chris Cole.

General Election Matchups
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom / Cha / Wes / P-T / Tri / NoE / SoE)
Perdue......43 / 64 / 16 / 41 / 41 / 45 / 23 / 37 / 48 / 48 / 62 / 50
McCrory....40 / 18 / 75 / 28 / 42 / 39 / 66 / 41 / 36 / 33 / 27 / 30
Munger.......2 / 2 / -- / 6 / 3 / 1 / 2 / 1 / 3 / 2 / 1 / 1

Dole...........47 / 24 / 79 / 41 / 49 / 45 / 57 / 44 / 42 / 42 / 47 / 45
Hagan........38 / 60 / 11 / 32 / 36 / 39 / 28 / 39 / 40 / 44 / 39 / 37
Cole.............2 / 1 / 2 / 6 / 4 / 1 / 2 / 2 / 3 / 2 / 4 / --

(Geographic notes: "Cha" is Charlotte. "Wes" is the Western region of the state. "P-T" is the Piedmont Triad. "Tri" is the Research Triangle. "NoE" is the Northeast. "SoE" is the Southeast.)

NC Neck And Neck

In a year in which the one thing missing is a number of good governor's races, add North Carolina to the list. For the second month in a row, a conservative think tank in the Tar Heel State released a poll showing a tight race between two candidates who made it through contentious primaries. Democrats, it appears, are going to need to play serious defense to keep outgoing Governor Mike Easley's seat, while Republicans have a real opportunity.

The poll, conducted 6/11-13 among 600 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/- 4%, and was conducted by Tel Opinion Research, a GOP firm in Alexandria, Virginia, on behalf of the Civitas Institute. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, the Democratic nominee, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican standard-bearer, were tested, alongside Libertarian candidate Michael Munger.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Perdue........43 / 65 / 13 / 43 / 37 / 47
McCrory......41 / 16 / 74 / 39 / 44 / 38
Munger..........2 / 2 / 2 / 4 / 3 / 2

McCrory keeps it close with a huge lead in Charlotte, but Perdue leads every other region of the state except the very conservative western area. There could be hidden Perdue vote, though: Just 18% of poll respondents are African American, a demographic that breaks toward the Democratic nominee by a 77%-6% margin. Should turnout increase to the 21% of the population blacks in North Carolina represent, Perdue would benefit.

Still, Republicans have a very good chance to win after picking the most moderate nominee they could find. The state and national parties are taking McCrory seriously, too. The Charlotte Mayor will host President Bush today to fill his coffers for what will be an expensive fight ahead.

Update: We mistyped Libertarian candidate Michael Munger's name in the post's original version. Apologies for the typo.

Bush To Stump In NC

Despite record low job approval numbers -- the latest RCP Average has just 29.8% of Americans approving of his performance -- President Bush isn't staying completely on the sidelines. He will stump next month for Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, the Charlotte Observer reports today.

McCrory is locked in a dead heat with Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue. The most recent poll showed Perdue, the Democratic nominee to replace term-limited Governor Mike Easley, leading by a single point with both candidates in the low 40s.

Even fundraising with the president at a private home -- the event is scheduled to take place at a mansion in Raleigh in late July -- presents McCrory with challenges. Perdue could make an issue out of the association, though McCrory's consultant told the Observer he is confident that national issues won't play a role in November.

Bush has largely stuck to campaigning for fellow Republicans in heavily-GOP districts. He's fundraised for Kansas State Senator Nick Jordan, who is running against Rep. Dennis Moore and for state parties in South Carolina and other states. Last week, Bush appeared at fundraisers in Arizona and Utah on behalf of John McCain.

NC Is New Gov Target

As Politics Nation catches up from vacation, a poll we missed earlier this week shows national Democrats have a new seat to worry about. After holding the North Carolina Governor's mansion since Jim Hunt won election in 1992, the party now faces the serious threat of a neck-and-neck race as incumbent Democrat Mike Easley finds himself term limited.

The poll, conducted by the Republican firm Tel Opinion Research for the Civitas Institute, surveyed 800 likely voters between 5/14-17 for a margin of error of +/- 3%. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, the Democratic nominee, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate, were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Perdue.....43 / 64 / 16 / 39 / 37 / 47
McCrory...42 / 23 / 70 / 37 / 46 / 39

Both candidates show impressive abilities to siphon votes away from the other party, though in a state that still has its share of Southern Democrats it is understandable that some might migrate to the Republican Party. Perdue won a surprisingly easy 56%-40% victory over State Treasurer Richard Moore in the Democratic primary, while McCrory, the more moderate Republican, won 46% of the vote, nine points ahead of his nearest rival, State Senator Fred Smith.

Both primaries turned contentious, though Perdue and Moore, who each had more money than their Republican rivals, spent more on television ads lambasting each other (Perdue took her negative ads down unilaterally a few weeks before the primary).

In a national environment with few truly contentious governors' races, both parties are looking for places to spend their money. Democrats will target Republican-held seats in Missouri and Indiana, while Republicans only had a close race in Washington State to go after before polls began to show a close contest in the Tar Heel State. Watch for both parties to play heavily in North Carolina this Fall.

Perdue-McCrory Set In NC

Front-runners pulled off wins in both parties' primaries heading into November's election last night, setting up a battle between two big-name candidates in the race to replace outgoing Democratic Governor Mike Easley. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue won a surprisingly wide victory over Treasurer Richard Moore, by a 56%-40% margin, to claim the Democratic nomination, while Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory won the Republican nomination with 46%; his nearest opponent, State Senator Fred Smith, scored 37%.

Perdue and Moore's Democratic contest had devolved into an expensive exercise in name-calling and insinuations of links to white supremacist groups. The Republican side, while less acrimonious, was no less competitive, with Smith and two more candidates splitting the conservative vote, allowing the moderate McCrory to sneak through.

The Democratic candidate remains the likely favorite come November, and Republican McCrory has history holding him back as well. Several recent Charlotte Mayors, including Harvey Gantt and now-Rep. Sue Myrick, have sought and lost elections for statewide office. And while the state will likely vote heavily for John McCain come November, Democrats have won the governor's mansion in recent presidential years; the GOP has not controlled the executive office since 1993.

NC Gov Is Race To Watch

While national Republicans have their favorite candidate and Democrats would be happy with either of their top two contenders, both primaries to replace outgoing North Carolina Governor Mike Easley look like close races, a new survey shows. With few governors contests truly contested this year, both parties are going to play in the Tar Heel State, and the primary could have a dramatic impact on which party retains a leg up in November.

The survey, from Mason-Dixon for WRAL-TV, polled 400 likely Democratic primary voters and 400 likely Republican primary voters for margins of error of +/- 4.9% each. The Democratic side included Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue, Treasurer Richard Moore and retired Air Force Colonel Dennis Nielsen. The Republican slate was made up of State Senator Fred Smith, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, attorney Bill Graham and former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr.

Primary Election Matchups
Perdue 45
Moore 34
Nielsen 1

Smith 32
McCrory 31
Graham 7
Orr 5

McCrory is by far the most moderate of the Republicans, and many had speculated that a divided conservative base could help McCrory take the nomination. But with Orr and Graham failing to gain serious traction, Smith has steadily gained in a number of polls. No matter the incumbent, the Mayor of Charlotte always seems to have a rough time winning different jobs.

The Democratic race has been ugly for months, and though both candidates would likely outraise their Republican opponents, the winner of Tuesday's primary will have to spend some time healing the base before they get down to appealing to independents. If Perdue pulls out a big win, it would make that job easier, but a tight contest will only lead to bitter feelings.

NC Dem Race Tight

The race to replace outgoing Democratic Governor Mike Easley is fast moving up the list of most competitive governor's contests this year, primarily as two leading Democrats slug it out for their party's nomination. A new poll out today shows the race neck-and-neck with just a month to go before voters head to the ballot box. The tension on the Democratic side is made worse for the party as Republicans seem to be favoring a more moderate candidate who would likely be their party's strongest candidate.

The survey, conducted by Virginia-based TelOpinion Research for the Civitas Institute, tested 335 likely Republican primary voters and 441 voters likely to cast ballots in the Democratic primary, for margins of error of +/- 5.35% and 4.7%, respectively. Conducted 4/9-10, Democrats Beverly Perdue, the state's Lieutenant Governor, and Richard Moore, the state Treasurer, were tested, as well as Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, State Senator Fred Smith, attorney Bill Graham and former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, all Republicans.

Primary Election Matchups
(All / Dem / Ind)
Moore 37 / 37 / 31 (+14 from last, 2/20-21)
Perdue 36 / 35 / 46 (+8)

(All / GOP / Ind)
McCrory 28 / 27 / 34 (+10)
Smith 19 / 19 / 17 (+2)
Graham 5 / 5 / 2 (nc)
Orr 4 / 5 / 2 (nc)

Moore and Perdue have been attacking each other for months for taking money from Wall Street donors, over each others' education proposals and other topics. In fact, the heat has grown so intense that last week Perdue decided to cancel her advertisements attacking Moore, though Moore says he will continue running ads questioning his rival's record.

Interestingly, both candidates have made an issue of their support for Barack Obama, who is running well ahead in polls there. Perdue has sent mailers to African American households, while Moore has run radio spots on stations with heavily African American audiences.

On the other side, Smith, Graham and Orr are all seen as more conservative than McCrory, who announced his candidacy late in the game and is seen as a strong contender should he face off with either of the two Democrats. But being mayor of Charlotte, a position McCrory has held for longer than any other person, has been a harbinger of difficulty as a statewide candidate in recent decades. Each of McCrory's four immediate predecessors have run and lost for statewide office, though Sue Myrick made a comeback and now represents the city in Congress.

In a year with few competitive gubernatorial races, though, North Carolina could prove a surprisingly tight contest. While John McCain is favored to pick up the state's electoral votes and Senator Elizabeth Dole looks likely to win re-election, Easley won twice as Republicans cruised, making a Democratic victory not too far-fetched.

Two Tough Fights In NC

Both Democrats and Republicans face contentious and close fights in primaries to replace retiring North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, a new poll shows. While Democrats appear in better position to keep the seat, Republicans are holding out hope that they can steal one of the last remaining southern governorships still in Democratic hands.

The poll, conducted by the Civitas Institute, was conducted among 800 likely voters between 2/20-21. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/- 3.7%, while the Democratic subsample, of 400 voters, is +/- 5% and the Republican sample, of 296 voters, is accurate to within +/- 6%. Democrats Beverly Perdue, the state's Lieutenant Governor, and State Treasurer Richard Moore were surveyed, along with Republicans Pat McCrory, the mayor of Charlotte, State Senator Fred Smith, former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and businessman Bill Graham.

Democratic Primary Election Matchup
Perdue 28 (-6 from last poll, in 1/08)
Moore 23 (-1)

Republican Primary Election Matchup
McCrory 18 (-1)
Smith 17 (+3)
Graham 5 (-7)
Orr 4 (-1)

The primary, to be held on May 6, remains wide open on both sides. National Republicans prefer McCrory, the best-known candidate in the GOP field, to other candidates, but his more moderate voting record could prove a problem to the Republican electorate. A runoff, if needed, will be held June 24.

McCrory Joins NC Gov Race

After months of bitter feuding in the Democratic primary, the party still seems poised to maintain the governor's mansion as North Carolina Governor Mike Easley is forced out by term limits. Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore are feuding over school tuition increases and development of a region known as Roanoke Rapids, and while the fighting has gotten ugly at times, it's better than the Republican field. Each candidate on the other side of the aisle is barely known by anyone.

But all is not lost for the GOP: Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory officially entered the race yesterday, just four months before the primary. The entry is no surprise. McCrory has been making calls to top Republicans around the state for a few weeks, and the state Board of Elections is still trying to determine whether the $600,000 in his Mayoral campaign account is eligible for a statewide race.

Democrats have held the governor's mansion in North Carolina for four consecutive terms, and the state is one of a very few in the South where the Democratic Party has yet to collapse. Still, a recent poll for McCrory showed him running three points ahead of Perdue and a point behind Moore in general election matchups.

McCrory's biggest challenge will be getting through a primary that, while boring, has been going on for months. Attorney Bill Graham, former State Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and State Senator Fred Smith are all running to the right, likely leaving the middle to McCrory. The same poll from November showed McCrory up just one point on Smith in a primary, giving the other candidates a chance to pile on.

A GOP Chance In NC

Until now, the race to replace outgoing North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley has been dominated by an increasingly nasty Democratic primary. Lieutenant Gov. Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore have been slugging it out for months, trading barbs and charges over their respective records.

The Republican race, by contrast, has been marked by virtually unknown candidates, including attorney Bill Graham, former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and State Senator Fred Smith. Finally, though, Republicans think they have found a real candidate, and a poll conducted for Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory shows the big city mayor could make the race competitive.

The poll, conducted between 11/12-15 by Washington- and Houston-based Voter/Consumer Research, surveyed 501 registered voters for a margin of error of +/- 4%, while a separate sample included 301 Republican primary voters for a margin of error of +/- 6%. All six candidates were tested.

General Election Matchups
McCrory 39
Perdue 36

Moore 37
McCrory 36

Primary Election Matchup
McCrory 20
Smith 19
Graham 12
Orr 9

McCrory has yet to officially make up his mind on the race, and continues consulting with family and supporters before his anticipated announcement, a spokeswoman said. That announcement is likely to come shortly after the new year.

While McCrory would make the race competitive for Republicans, he might have a difficult time making it out of the GOP primary. The three other candidates would all be running to the right, and conservatives would likely choose Smith, Graham or Orr over the more moderate McCrory. Still, having been elected to seven two-year terms in a big city, Republicans might decide to give him a pass in the primary with the hope that he would attract enough urban support to take the seat back for the GOP.

What Not To Ask

It is highly impolite to ask a person's age, and heaven knows a guess is guaranteed to insult, no matter if it's high or low. But an intrepid, and brave, reporter for the Raleigh News Observer wanted to know exactly how old North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Beverly Perdue really is.

Perdue, Ryan Teague Beckwith noted, has recently said she was born in 1947. But earlier documents show her birthdate listed as 1948. A spokesman said she changed her date of birth in order to please her first husband, whom she divorced in 1994. That first husband was seven months younger than Perdue, something he apparently didn't like to advertise.

The issue is not going to lose an election by itself for Perdue, who is currently locked in a Democratic primary contest with State Treasurer Richard Moore to replace term-limited Gov. Mike Easley. But if any more small fibs come out, a campaign commercial could be forthcoming. A good lesson: Nothing helps a campaign more than a good researcher, and nothing hurts a campaign more than a reporter digging in old files.

Two Good Nomination Fights In NC

An Elon University poll out today shows what are shaping up to be two hot contests in the race to replace term-limited North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley. The poll has small subsamples, with correspondingly high margins of error, and campaigning is not seriously underway yet, but in both parties no one is close to a lock for the nominations.

Tested were Lieutenant Gov. Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore, both Democrats, and attorney Bill Graham, former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and State Senator Fred Smith, all Republicans.

Democrats
Perdue 35
Moore 27
Too early 19
Undecided 19

Republicans
Graham 12
Orr 11
Smith 11
Too early 36
Undecided 31

Which Party Will You Vote For In '08?
Democratic 35
Republican 32
Too early 17
Undecided 16

The poll, conducted 9/24-27, was released the day after Perdue officially launched her campaign to become the first female Tar Heel chief executive. Moore has already taken aim at some of Perdue's positions, foreshadowing what could be an ugly and expensive primary.