Local Politics

Poll puts Smith, McCrory in dead heat for GOP nod

Posted April 30, 2008
Updated May 2, 2008

— State Sen. Fred Smith and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory are in a virtual tie for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a WRAL News poll released Wednesday.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. surveyed 400 likely Republican voters on Monday and Tuesday and found Smith is supported by 32 percent of voters while 31 percent favor McCrory. The poll has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Smith leads among men and voters 50 and older, while McCrory was stronger among women and younger voters, according to the poll.

McCrory had been seen as the front-runner for the GOP nomination since he entered the race in January. He blamed attacks by Smith and fellow candidate Robert Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice, for an erosion of support.

"There is a trend in politics where negative campaigns do have an impact, and right now, one of my opponents, Mr. Smith, is running very negative and inaccurate campaign ads," McCrory said.

"We have not gone negative. What we have done is point out words that came out of his mouth and his record. We've only talked about things that are true," Smith said.

One in four Republican voters remains undecided with less than a week until the May 6 primary.

Orr and Salisbury attorney Bill Graham each drew less than 10 percent support in the poll.

Respondents said they thought Smith was more capable to handle issues like illegal immigration and crime control, while McCrory was seen as better equipped to address the state economy, reforming the Department of Transportation and the state mental health system and dealing with gangs.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue holds a 45 to 34 percent lead over State Treasurer Richard Moore. Twenty percent of voters remain undecided.

Mason-Dixon also surveyed 400 likely Democratic voters Monday and Tuesday. That poll also had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Perdue leads Moore among all categories of voters identified in the poll: men and women, young and old, white and black, Democrat and independent. Those surveyed also rated her most qualified to address various issues facing North Carolina.

Almost half of voters gave Perdue a favorable rating, compared with 28 percent for Moore. Fifty-seven percent said they liked her recent decision to pull all ads attacking Moore, but voters were fairly evenly split on how they viewed Moore's advertising.

"It doesn't seem as though the proclamation – that hers would be a positive campaign from now on – has hurt her," said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University.

Perdue also leads in financing heading into the primary. Campaign finance reports show she raised $2.2 million in the last three months, including a $500,000 loan, while Moore raised $1.9 million, including a $900,000 loan.

She has $938,000 on hand, compared with $339,000 for Moore.

Taylor said Moore must count on undecided voters to upset Perdue next week.

"The key unknown here is the effect that the exaggerated turnout will have on the gubernatorial race," he said.


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  • veyor May 1, 2008

    Vote for Pat. WRAL would not print why.

  • MOBx3 May 1, 2008

    I'm voting for McCrory too! He's the only one that can make it all the way to the governor's mansion! And I agree, 16 years is too long for the democrats to be on top. Go Pat!

  • keepitreal May 1, 2008

    I will vote for anyone but Fred Smith. Looks like Pat McCrory needs my vote next week to send Fred back to his bait and switch development company. And if that doesn't work any dem will work, just to keep him out of office. My votwe will not be for anyone but anti- Fred Smith.

  • doodad May 1, 2008

    I think it has already been established that McCroy's comment suggesting he would do more for the Charlotte area was taken out of context.

  • dogeatdog May 1, 2008

    Just remember that when McCrory decided to run so late (ahem) that one of his reasons was to do more for the Charlotte area, which means eastern NC will be forgotten and left out, as usual. I have lived in eastern NC 34 years and about the only thing we have ever received from the state was funding for the Global Transpark. McCrory doesn't care about this side of the state, so I will not vote for him in the primary. As for the Bar-b-que comment, that was a chance for the voters to meet Fred, not trying to "buy" votes. Of course, any Republican candidate will be better than either of the Dems, so I will support, in the general election, whoever the Republicans put up.

  • patriotsrevenge May 1, 2008

    ts, are you really basing your vote on the NRA? I'm a hunter and no one has every tried to take my guns away. With all the problems we have in this state, I think 2nd amendment issues are pretty low on the list.

  • hpr641 May 1, 2008

    Seriously, somebody remind me: If no one gets at least 50% in the primary governors races, can the 2nd place finisher demand a run-off?

    Now, two points:

    1) If you're going to bash a candidate here, how about just 1 actual 1st hand or documented example of him (or her) doing what you're bashing them for?

    2) It has been funny that the 1 thing that I know of that Bev Perdue actually did do herself politically (cast the tie-breaking vote on the state lottery), she hasn't mentioned or even alluded to in her ads.

  • ThatsRight May 1, 2008

    Hopefully Bar-B-Q can't buy the Governor's Office.

  • doodad May 1, 2008

    I was planning on voting for Bob Orr because I think he is the best candidate and McCroy is my second choice. I will vote for McCroy because I don't support Fred Smith. We need a governor who will work for us, not another slick and wealthy one.

  • fredssmithisnotmysenator May 1, 2008


    Why must you automatically assume I am liberal? You do not know me and you apparently do not know Mr. Smith very well if you think he would make a good governor. Pretty red, white and blue signs and packing your gut with free BBQ does not justify your voting for him. I bet you read his book didn't you? He runs a smoke and mirror show. He baits interested individuals with promises of things great, then falls short on the promises. You can almost hear him giggling as he is running away with your money. DON"T DRINK THE KOOL AID, dogeatdog!