RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty points is a big lead in basketball and a huge lead in a political poll. The latest
conducted by Mason-Dixon shows Gov. Mike Easley with a 20-point lead over Republican Challenger Patrick Ballantine.
"Certainly, it is probably going to close a little bit, but this is a good place to be," said Jay Reiff, of the Easley campaign.
North Carolina State University political professor Andy Taylor called the race a slam dunk for Easley. He believes Ballantine is out of the game.
"It looks like it's going to be very, very, very difficult -- if not impossible -- in the last 10 days or so to turn it around," he said.
Just one month ago, Ballantine was leading in the Triad and in southeastern North Carolina. Now, Easley leads in every region of the state.
The poll also shows Ballantine does not have the support of Republicans statewide. Seventy percent are for Ballantine, but 19 percent of Republicans are for Easley.
Officials with the Ballantine campaign said they have been down before.
"It's the same situation we faced in the primary. We were down double-digits and came back and won the primary, so we are going to keep working hard," said Bob Rosser, of the Ballantine campaign.
Ballantine has a busy campaign schedule in the final days. Easley's camp said despite the lead, he will still go after every vote.