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@NCCapitol

Thom who? Most voters don't recognize top legislative leaders

Posted September 19, 2013

— Despite being arguably the two most powerful political figures in the state – and potential U.S. Senate candidates – House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are not well known among voters surveyed by the Elon University Poll.

Roughly one-third of 683 registered voters said they had heard of either figure. That's not good for the Republicans hoping to challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in a race that will be the only statewide contest on the ballot in 2014. Name identification is crucial for both raising money and gathering grass roots support.

Of those that recognized the two legislative leaders' names, only 22 percent had a favorable impression of Tillis and only 33 percent had a favorable impression of Berger. A plurality of voters said their impression were neither favorable nor negative.

That's pretty thin political gruel for two men who have been at the center of the state's political maelstrom over the past three years. 

"Journalists, political scientists, people who are in the field are just so shocked when voters don't recognize the names," said Kenneth Fernandez, director of the Elon University Poll. "It really isn't that surprising." 

Respondents, he said, may have had better recognition if the poll questions had included Berger's and Tillis' titles, he said, but those are not how names are listed on the ballot. 

"We're just so far off from the primary," he said. "These numbers are going to dramatically change as the media focuses on the candidates rather than the issues." 

For context, 38 percent of respondents said they approved of the job Hagan was doing, while 35 percent said they disapproved and 26 percent didn't have an opinion.

"Her numbers are flat," Fernandez said, saying that Hagan's favorable versus unfavorable numbers won't begin to move until sometime next year.

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  • davidgnews Sep 23, 2013

    "Most voters don't recognize top legislative leaders"

    No wonder the state is heading the wrong way, and voters hardly know what the ALEC agenda is all about. Apparently, republicans don't even know who they're voting for either. LOL.

  • tracmister Sep 23, 2013

    Please the voters know who Tom Tillis is. If they're Republican half of them won't admit that they won't vote for him. I know I won't.

  • miseem Sep 20, 2013

    When did Elon University get into the polling business?? I wouldn't trust ANY college to do a poll. They did not include the other 3 candidates that are running in the primary. Why was that? All the more reason I wouldn't believe these numbers.
    pjsb.

    If only 1/3 of the voters in NC know these two names, despite them being prominent in the news for 9 months, how many people do you think know who Greg Brannon, Mark Harris, or Aaron O'Neal are? Plus, there are other Republicans running. Think that may be the reason they did not run down the full slate? If they insisted on listing every candidate, I would question the validity of the poll. Particularly when the numbers ended up being 2% name recognition. In addition, trying to cover all bases on all questions would end up in a very long poll and few people would finish it.

  • jackjones2nc Sep 20, 2013

    People know Thom Tillis and Phil Berger have been importing and enacting harmful ALEC legislation. If ALEC agenda wasn't so secretive and questionable, Tillis & Berger would be more notorious.

  • HeadsUp Sep 20, 2013

    If Senator Brunstetter gets in the race, that will change the dynamics on both sides.

  • pjsb Sep 20, 2013

    When did Elon University get into the polling business?? I wouldn't trust ANY college to do a poll. They did not include the other 3 candidates that are running in the primary. Why was that? All the more reason I wouldn't believe these numbers.

  • wildpig777 Sep 20, 2013

    hagan is better than the bush groupie career Washington socialite lisabeth dole. who DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR NC while she occupied her acting role as senator.....

  • tracmister Sep 19, 2013

    I find that very hard to believe. Most people that I know whether they voted for McCrory or not would NEVER vote for Tillis or Berger.

  • wildpig777 Sep 19, 2013

    he's a big NOBODY that wants to be a somebody... hopefully that wont happen.

  • notexactly Sep 19, 2013

    Wow, and the people that voted for Obama didn't know nothing about him.

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