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Voters' Voice: Vinroot Top GOP Gubernatorial Choice, Though Easley Still Man To Beat

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot leads the Republican field in the governor's race, according to a news media poll published Saturday. But he still is short of the support needed for an outright win of the nomination.

Spokesmen for former state GOP Chairman Bill Cobey and former state Sen. Patrick Ballantine, who are the second and third Republican choices in the poll, said they are within striking distance.

The poll was conducted this week for The

News & Observer,

WRAL-TV and WUNC radio.

Of 500 Republican voters surveyed, Vinroot received 33 percent, Cobey 23 percent and Ballantine 15 percent. The other three candidates were in single digits.

Eighteen percent of voters were undecided. The survey had a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

If no candidate gets at least 40 percent plus one of the July 20 primary vote, the two top finishers face off in an Aug. 17 runoff.

The Republican nominee will go up against a governor who 56 percent of voters say is doing an excellent or good job.

Forty-four percent also said they would re-elect Gov. Mike Easley. Twenty-nine percent would consider voting for another candidate, and 27 percent would vote to replace him.

Del Ali, president of

Research 2000,

the polling firm that did the survey, said that to win, Easley would need only one-fifth of the voters who say they would consider voting for someone else.

"It's Easley's race to lose," Ali said.


Voters' Voice Poll

is a collaboration between WRAL,

The News and Observer

and WUNC radio.

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