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Poll: Bowles would be best gubernatorial bet for Dems

Posted January 30, 2012

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— Registered North Carolina voters prefer former University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles among the potential field of Democrats who could face likely Republican candidate Pat McCrory in the governor's race, according to a poll released Monday.

In the wake of Gov. Beverly Perdue's unexpected decision last week not to seek re-election, Democrat-affiliated Public Policy Polling looked at how 13 possible candidates would perform against McCrory in the fall election and how popular they are within the Democratic Party.

McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, plans to launch his campaign for governor on Tuesday.

The PPP poll puts Bowles and McCrory in virtually a dead heat among registered North Carolina voters, which McCrory holding a 44-42 percent lead.

Bowles, who lost U.S. Senate bids in 2002 and 2004, hasn't decided whether to enter the race, although party leaders are reportedly pushing him to run. He couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

"I think, right now, we're probably in the waiting-for-Erskine stage, and nothing will happen until Erskine makes up his mind," Democratic consultant Gary Pearce said. "He's the big player in this, and his decision will have a lot to do (with others' moves). If he gets in, a lot of people won't. If he doesn't, a lot of people will."

Pearce said Bowles has the strongest resume in the field. He's well connected with national Democrats, and he can raise a lot of money fast. That last factor could be key, with only 99 days left until the May primary.

At this point in the 2008 campaign, Perdue had more than $4.5 million in cash on hand. The Democratic candidates in the 2012 race have much less time to raise funds.

"Erskine is great at many things, but he would be the first to tell you he's not a great politician," Pearce said. "He's not a great campaigner. This is not a natural fit for him."

Election 2012 McCrory tops all potential Dem candidates in poll

The two declared Democratic candidates performed poorly against McCrory in the PPP poll. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton trailed McCrory by a 50-35 percent margin, while Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, trailed by a 50-31 percent margin.

"I've been campaigning for governor for five days, versus Pat McCrory, who has been campaigning nonstop since his last defeat in 2008," Dalton said in a statement. "I am in this fight to win. I am confident there will be growing support for my jobs and education vision to move our state forward, versus the destructive vision being embraced by Pat McCrory and Republican leaders. Their ideas are taking our state backwards and inflicting long-term damage."

Faison, who also isn't viewed well by Democrats polled, couldn't be reached for comment.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan fared second-best in the poll among possible gubernatorial candidates, trailing McCrory by a 48-41 percent margin. Her spokeswoman said Hagan has no plans to run for governor.

Former State Treasurer Richard Moore trailed McCrory by 11 percentage points in the poll, while 13th District Congressman Brad Miller, who said last week that he wouldn't run for a sixth term in the U.S. House, trails by 14 percentage points.

"I've been fairly encouraged, maybe to some extent depending on what the field is, that I would start with a very credible base, and I would be able to put together a campaign very quickly," Miller said, adding that he hasn't made up his mind yet and isn't watching to see what Bowles might do.

Likewise, Moore called the poll results encouraging but said he also hasn't decided whether to enter the race.

Other possible Democratic candidates who trailed McCrory by at least 15 points in the poll include former 2nd District Congressman Bob Etheridge, 11th District Congressman Heath Shuler, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and 7th District Congressman Mike McIntyre.

22 Comments

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  • Boogalooboy Feb 2, 2012

    speaking of no real media coverage and our govt in the same breath but did anyone see an explanation of why the PowerBall went up 33 percent and where is that $$ going??

  • Boogalooboy Feb 2, 2012

    guess if Etheridge runs we will have to see the video over and over with him manhandling a kid..

  • Carolina Conservator Feb 1, 2012

    If the Democratic party is going to recover it's reputation in NC, it needs a progressive, but thoroughly integrated approach to governing and rectifying the economy. Mr Bowles has a unique and powerful background to deal with all of the issues facing North Carolina today. He is the only candidate that Democrats, republicans and independents alike know and respect.

  • undefeated Feb 1, 2012

    Mr. Bowles is "the" candidate for Democrats. Fingers crossed that he will run. He has the best kind of experience that covers a lot of things and he is truly interested in the country's welfare and that will translate to our state. Bowles for NC Governor.

  • timtooltime777 Jan 31, 2012

    He has held positionsthat paid way to much money and perks for doing little as possible ! I would no give him, a good ol boy a plug nickel ! Career rip off !

  • rlwieland Jan 31, 2012

    Eskine Bowles has tried to live off the givt by getting a govt. job for years. Two runs for senate, now the old gaurd wants him to run for Gov. As bad as things are why would anyone vote for the incumbent party. Talk about a list of has beens. Vote McCory

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jan 31, 2012

    Bowles is one of the few candidates I would certainly vote for over McCrory. I like Brad Miller fine, but I would likely favor candidates with more executive experience. Richard Moore is likeable.

    I voted for McCrory last time. He's just not that scary of a republican.

  • free2bme Jan 31, 2012

    I think Bowles would be an excellent candidate if he chooses to run. I know he is probably the most qualified for the job at this point. I would certainly vote for him. Ditto in that-Both parties got us into this mess and we need a strong candidate to get us out of it regardless of their party affiliation. Bowles has proven that he is qualified to do the job.

  • fmacmaster Jan 31, 2012

    Stay out Erskine. He's one of the reasons the state is in the dump

  • bpjamesncsu Jan 31, 2012

    josephlawrence43...we're a country of individuals, not parties. I want competence; who cares if he/she is a D or R. Bowles, and maybe Richard Moore, are the only competent Democrats for governor in my mind. And on the Republican side, McCrory is the only competent option Repubs have had in years. D or R, maybe we can actually get a good governor for once.

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