Local Politics

Poll: Most undecided on Lt. Gov. races

Posted May 1, 2008 4:31 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2008 5:03 p.m. EDT

— About half of North Carolina voters remain undecided on which Democrat or Republican to support for lieutenant governor, according to a WRAL News poll.

Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, and four Democrats and four Republicans are seeking to fill the office she's leaving.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. surveyed 400 likely Republican voters and 400 likely Democratic voters Monday and Tuesday and found a wealth of uncertainty regarding the state's second-highest elected position. The polls have a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

State Sen. Robert Pittenger, R-Mecklenburg, leads among the GOP candidates, with support of 25 percent of those polled. Tim Cook, a former research scientist from Canton, was backed by 9 percent, while Lexington attorney Jim Snyder and Greg Dority, a former member of the U.N. Security Advisory Board in Albania, each garnered 8 percent support in the poll.

Fifty-two percent of likely GOP voters remain undecided.

Snyder lost to Perdue in 2004, while Cook also has been unsuccessful in campaigns for lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate.

A win this time for any of the candidates likely will depend on money, said David McLennan, a political science professor at Peace College.

"It's probably going to come down to who does the last-minute advertising push, who the voters remember when they walk into the polls on Election Day," McLennan said. "You're probably looking at a runoff on both sides."

There is a similar situation on the Democratic side, where 46 percent of voters remain undecided, according to the poll.

State Sen. Walter Dalton, D-Cleveland, leads among voters who have made up their minds, at 23 percent. Hampton Dellinger, a chief legal counsel for Gov. Mike Easley, is close behind at 17 percent.

Canton Mayor Pat Smathers, a retired lieutenant colonel in the North Carolina National Guard, garnered 9 percent support in the poll, while Dan Besse, a lawyer and Winston-Salem councilman, is backed by 5 percent.