WRAL News poll: McCrory holds early lead over Dalton

Posted May 22, 2012
Updated May 23, 2012

— Two weeks after primaries set North Carolina's gubernatorial match this fall, Republican Pat McCrory has grabbed an early lead over Democrat Walter Dalton, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.

SurveyUSA polled 524 likely voters between Friday and Monday and found that 44 percent would vote for McCrory if the election were held now, compared with 39 percent for Dalton and 7 percent for Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe. Ten percent remain undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

McCrory has a sizable lead among male voters, at 47 to 35 percent, while the candidates are virtually tied among female voters, according to the poll. McCrory also leads among voters under age 50, and is basically tied with Dalton among older voters.

Almost three-quarters of black voters support Dalton, but McCrory is backed by more than half of white and Hispanic voters. Dalton also leads among lower-income voters, while McCrory has the advantage among the middle-class and upper-income voters, the poll shows.

Sixteen percent of the Democrats surveyed back McCrory, while only 6 percent of Republicans said they would cross over to vote for Dalton, according to the poll. Independent voters also favor McCrory by a 47 to 26 percent margin.

"This is a marathon. It's not a sprint," McCrory said. "I'm sure it's going to be a close election."

McCrory's has a 55 to 33 percent lead among voters in his home base of Charlotte, where he was mayor for 14 years. Meanwhile, the Democratic stronghold in southeastern North Carolina delivers a 53 to 32 percent lead for Dalton, the poll shows. Dalton has a slight lead in the Triad, and McCrory has a slight lead in the Triangle.

Voters oppose raising the state sales tax rate by three-quarters of a penny to generate more money for public schools by a 47 to 42 percent margin, according to the poll. Dalton backs the increase, which Gov. Beverly Perdue has lobbied for in recent months, but McCrory said the state needs to change its education system instead of pumping more money into it. Election 2012 Dalton, McCrory seek support from business community

Both men pitched hundreds of North Carolina business leaders on their positions on the sales tax, along with government regulations, job creation and the economy, at an N.C. Chamber meeting Tuesday.

"I want to talk to all those people. I want to talk to them about how I think that money will help drive the economy and that money will filter back into the economy," Dalton said. "When teachers get paid money, they spend money."

"A 15 percent increase on small businesses and large businesses and consumers during the worst recession we've ever seen would cost North Carolina jobs," McCrory said.

'Fracking' favored

Energy exploration in North Carolina is another controversial issue that could play a role in the fall elections. State lawmakers are considering legislation that could allow a method of natural gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," within two years.

More than 40 percent of people surveyed said they don't know enough about fracking to take a position, but 35 percent said they support gas drilling in the state while only 24 percent oppose it, the poll shows.

Offshore oil drilling had even higher support, with 46 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed. The rest said they didn't know enough about the issue.

The poll also found that the General Assembly continues to be out of favor among voters. Fifty-three percent said they disapprove of the job lawmakers are doing, while about half as many said they approve. The results are similar to those from a WRAL News poll in March.

Regulate sweepstakes games

Finally, almost half of the 281 poll respondents who said they are familiar with sweepstakes cafés said North Carolina should regulate and tax the businesses, which sell Internet or phone time for people to play video-style games and uncover potential prizes.

The state Court of Appeals has ruled that a ban on the games is unconstitutional, and lawmakers are trying to determine how best to handle them.

Twenty-eight percent of those polled said the sweepstakes businesses should be allowed to operate without restriction, while 10 percent said they should be outlawed, according to the poll. Another 13 percent said the state lottery should be halted in addition to closing the sweepstakes cafés.


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  • forautumn May 24, 2012

    pbj, no need to respond to Nancy. When proven wrong, she just changes subjects.

    She has loose facts she uses when it is convenient, then doesn't respond when that is pointed out.

    Or she might play "victim" and say that folks who point out her errors are snide or deameaning.


  • forautumn May 24, 2012

    Hey Nancy, I see you forgot to respond to me question concerning "career politicians" that you brought up.

    At the risk of being snide and demeaning, I have to assume the fact that you did not address the nature of McCrory's political career is due to the fact that it totally invalidated your comment about Walter Dalton getting into politics early and just staying.

    Seems to be your MO...make an accusation, then with confronted with facts that prove you incorrect, run away.

    How very convenient.


  • SARCASTICLES May 23, 2012

    Did anybody hear about the republican nominee for governor whining and complaining and generally having a tantrum over his opposition's attack ad? His biggest complaint seems to be centered around the claim that the ad was "false and misleading" and that it was not clear who paid for it.........nope, that's it.....that WAS the punchline. Good luck in 2072, GOP. ;)

  • Plenty Coups May 23, 2012

    Nancy-"pbjbeach, you really believe the democrats have good stewardship over this state? You misplace your faith in the democrats leadership...
    "We cut spending, eliminated waste and consolidated agencies"

    Glad to see you recognize that Perdue and the Democrats cut spending due to the great recession. Last week there was a whole lot of talk about all the waste that needs to be cut and that it was only the republicans that would ever attempt to cut spending.

  • bigal02282 May 23, 2012

    They just can't stand it, have to try and get the last word in. Well, too bad. GOtcha.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot May 23, 2012

    pbjbeach, comparing the latest firings in the leglature is like comparing yesterday's thunderstorm to last years Jopin disaster.

    And take your union ideals up north where they belong.

  • Nancy May 23, 2012

    pbjbeach, you really believe the democrats have good stewardship over this state? You misplace your faith in the democrats leadership.

    A blast from the past .... January 2012

    "Lanier Cansler, head of the state Department of Health and Human Services, is leaving the department at the end of the month.

    [snip]In a prepared statement, Cansler praised Perdue's leadership.

    "We cut spending, eliminated waste and consolidated agencies - all to make state government more efficient without neglecting our core mission of serving the people," the statement said.

    Cansler, appointed in 2009, led the state's largest department during a challenging time. Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled, has a $149 million budget gap this year, and next year's budget hole is projected to be larger."


  • pbjbeach May 23, 2012

    I would personaly caution every state employee in this state to think really hard beofre pulling that lever in the favor of mr mccory an the rest of his repulbican buddies over in the nc senate an the nc house of representives. thatis unless you want tos ee four more years of an adminstration in the likes of the wonderfuly recalled governor of wisconsin an his attacks on the state /public wokrer sector in the state of wisconsin. if mccory is elected in north carolina you had may as well get ready for the same kinds of treatment in the public sector work places as the state employees of wisconsin have experienced for sure so i caution you to please think long hard an ndeep before casting our vote in the favor of any state wide republican elected official thank you once again please just think first on november 4th 2012

  • pbjbeach May 23, 2012

    i was throughly glad to see that you called someone elses hand on here with regards to the issue of the democrats being the ones that were underhanded for sure in my personal estimation the republicans hold the guiness book of world records for that catergory in my opinion thank you

  • pbjbeach May 23, 2012


    In your listing of bad for the democratic party you must have forgetten the recent listing of mr tillis the current speaker in the nc house of respresentive an his give aways to his recent fired staff members at great expense to the states taxpayers . i would just caution you to think before you e-mail/post or blog again for someone is going to surely call your hand on it on these postings on here thank you