Local Politics

WRAL News poll: McCrory ahead of Perdue in gubernatorial race

Posted May 12, 2008 5:44 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2008 11:17 p.m. EDT

— The race for governor is starting out close because neither candidate attracts the majority of voters to their corner yet – so undecided voters will be the swing factor.

Rasmussen Reports surveyed 500 likely voters statewide on Thursday and found Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate, has a 45 percent to 39 percent edge over Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, the Democrat. They won their parties' primary elections last week.

Libertarian candidate Michael Munger earns support from 4 percent of North Carolina voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

"It just shows that my positive campaign is resonating with the citizens of North Carolina and that they are ready for new leadership,” McCrory said Monday in response to the poll.

A Perdue spokesman responded with, "We expect to run a very close, vigorous race through the fall and look forward to winning in November."

In March, Perdue had a three-point lead over McCrory when they were listed as possible opponents.

"I think the poll really does illustrate this could be a different type of gubernatorial race,” Peace College political science professor David McLennan said.

McLennan said McCrory could win support with independents and even some Democrats.

"His policies are not mainstream Republican all the time, although he does have good Republican credentials,” McLennan said.

"I'm going to try and get Richard Moore’s supporters to support me,” McCrory said last Wednesday.

Moore, the state treasurer, lost to Perdue in the Democratic primary.

Perdue is also out to win those same voters.

"I’m asking not just Democrats, I’m asking Republicans and independents too,” Perdue said last Tuesday.

McCrory is viewed favorably by 56 percent and unfavorably by 29 percent. Perdue’s ratings are 50 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable.

Munger is less known, earning favorable ratings from 24 percent and unfavorable ratings from 35 percent while 41percent said they were not sure.

McLennan said there could be a reason Perdue's favorable percentage is lower than McCrory's.

"Perdue came off a very divisive primary campaign, and the Moore campaign hit her with everything but the kitchen sink,” he said.

But McLennan added that Perdue still has plenty of time to work on her image.

"With five months left in the campaign, so much can change,” he said.

In the presidential race, Sen. John McCain leads Barack Obama by less than the margin or error – 48 percent to 45 percent – when Obama is listed as the Democratic candidate. He also has a 3-point margin over Hillary Clinton, too, 43 percent to 40 percent, with more people undecided about that match-up.

The U.S. Senate race in the state is surprisingly close, with Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, at 48 percent and Elizabeth Dole, the Republican incumbent, at 47 percent.

Thirty-eight percent of voters say that Gov. Mike Easley is doing a good or an excellent job, while 24 percent say he is doing a poor job.