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Poll: No Home-State Advantage for Edwards

Posted September 28, 2007

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— A new poll shows Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton leading North Carolina's own John Edwards, with 37 percent of respondents indicating their support for the former First Lady.

Of the three Democratic candidates most favored by respondents, Edwards and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama were tied at 18 percent.

The poll, conducted Sept. 24-27 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 664 North Carolina residents. It has a margin of error between 6 and 7 percentage points.

"I think we're really starting to lose our connection to Edwards," said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at North Carolina State University.

Taylor downplayed Edwards' home-state disadvantage, noting North Carolina's presidential primary is so late in the process that it likely won't matter in choosing the Democratic nominee.

South Carolina could pose more of a problem for Edwards than North Carolina, he said. The Palmetto State is the only primary he won in 2004, and it's early in the primary process next year, which makes it important for momentum.

"He is not getting much traction there, and the African-American vote is really falling away from underneath him," he said.

Taylor also said Edwards' decision to accept public campaign financing signals a problem for his campaign. By opting for public money, Edwards ties himself to a $40 million fundraising cap, far below the $100 million spending level that many analysts predict will be needed to secure the nomination.

"If you really wanted to be a serious player in this, you needed to forget public financing," he said. "It's a sign of weakness. It's a sign of trouble. But it's not necessarily a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Edwards said his decision is a sign of integrity – he's holding the line on the money chase.

"I don't mean to sound holier than thou, but I think the system is broken. It doesn't work, which is why I called on all Democrats to say, 'We're not going to take Washington lobbyist money,'" he said.

In the Elon poll, 38 percent of respondents said they plan to support the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election, while 34 percent of respondents indicated their support for the Republican Party.

Twenty-five percent of citizens believe it is too early to tell or do not know which party they will support.

Among Republican presidential candidates, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson has a slight lead over former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Twenty-eight percent of those polled said they plan to support Thompson, 21 percent Giuliani and 12 percent Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Respondents also answered a number of questions about Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who registered a 50 percent job approval rating, compared with 25 percent who disapproved, while the remainder didn't know or didn't respond. Fifty-three percent said they were satisfied with how she represented the state.

The poll suggests her views on the war in Iraq could play a large issue if someone challenges her re-election bid.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the war would influence their vote in the Senate race and only 32 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with how Dole was handling the war issue. Dole has been among the Senate's strongest supporters in the war, although she has been more critical recently.

And on taxes, a core GOP issue, more people were unsatisfied with Dole's performance than satisfied, according to the poll.

"North Carolinians are mixed in evaluating Dole's performance," Elon poll director Hunter Bacot said. "The dissatisfaction with how she's handling the Iraq War issue, coupled with its emergence as the dominant issue influencing how citizens will vote, could prove quite problematic for her campaign should someone decide to oppose her."

Still, no Democrats have announced they will run against Dole, who handily beat Erskine Bowles in 2002. State Rep. Grier Martin of Raleigh and Sen. Kay Hagan of Greensboro are considering runs for the Democratic nomination.

In next year's race for governor, the polls shows Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue with an apparent lead over State Treasurer Richard Moore for the Democratic nomination, 35 percent to 27 percent. But 38 percent surveyed hadn't made up their minds.

Perdue will begin her campaign for governor on Monday in New Bern.

The uncertainty was much greater among Republican choices for governor, with two-thirds polled not choosing a candidate. Salisbury attorney Bill Graham had 12 percent of the vote, following by state Sen. Fred Smith and former Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr at 11 percent apiece.

77 Comments

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  • ohmygosh Sep 30, 2007

    You guys don't understand. The political system has created a new job. It's called "running for office". You get all your present and future needs supplied for by others. All you have to do is flap your gums and smile.

    If you haven't noticed there swarms of these. When will people stop sending in money? Perhaps never. After all many supported Pat Robertson's appeal for another new jet.

  • lizard Sep 29, 2007

    Personally, I like calling politicians names because they appeal to my emotions and an emotional response is in order.

    NC will never go demo/lib for president. Not enough yankees down here for that and those that are will switch to conservative eventually.

    Older population seems to be socialists or "roosevelt democrats" but they are dying off at the rate of 100 per day. Last bastion of liberal training school is the public school system and the university system.

    I wonder how it will shake out in the '08 election? Not soon enough to go liberal though, i'm pretty sure.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Sep 29, 2007

    Most of what Edwards says is carefully constructed spin (lies) to get elected.

    Example, he said his father worked in the mill. What Edwards didn't tell you is that his father was actually a manager in the mill. What a difference this story makes when you add the missing element of truth.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Sep 29, 2007

    This is a sign that the end is near.

    When your home state who knows how little you did for them in Senate won't support you, you're in big trouble.

    Also when you are unable to raise money so you start spinning that it's a bad thing for the other candidates to raise money, you're in big trouble.

    When your wife goes on attack and defends you against the attack of others, you're in big trouble.

    The end is near, Edwards ego is too big to realize this.

  • TruthBKnown Sep 28, 2007

    djofraleigh, well said!

  • djofraleigh Sep 28, 2007

    While a Democrat, and will not vote for John Edwards, I still detest the ridicule of calling him names like "MISS" or calling anyone names...please use logical arguments pro & con candidates.

    Edwards was one of the few who would have lost had he run again for Senate in NC. That's opinion.

    There is something wrong with a man who can take 10 million dollars of a little girl's money, no matter how much he made her. That's a tort attorney for you.

    There's something wrong when a candidate's main theme is two Americas and how much he is against it and how he is going to do something about it, yet he lives on 100 acres in a 25,000 sq ft house and wears expensive clothes. IF he really believed in what he says, he wouldn't live the life.

    Also, as a politician, I don't see how he can try to call others politicians and pretend he isn't one.

    You know who I like...tell me, I don't know myself.

  • Mr. French Sep 28, 2007

    As an NC native, I would LOVE to vote for President a person of principle from either party who hails from my home state.

    That's why I AIN'T votin' for Little Johnny.

  • ladyblue Sep 28, 2007

    I'll never vote for him or miss HRC

  • Heatherbrook Sep 28, 2007

    Why would NC voters vote for John Edwards? He has said that he comes from NOTHING. Could he be referring to NC or his hometown of Robbins or his parents? We know that his father worked in a mill (an honorable way to earn a living), but what was or is his mother?

  • jgirl5830 Sep 28, 2007

    Go Rudy!!! He cleaned up NYC and I think he could do the same for the nation, I really dont care what his stance on abortion is

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