Local News

Mason-Dixon Poll Shows Most Voters Don't Know Candidates

Posted April 2, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— A new WRAL Mason-Dixon poll indicates that most North Carolina voters don't know their candidates for the U.S. Senate, even though they'll be voting for one of them onthe May 5th ballot. The poll also shows that if the Democratic primary were held today, more than half of voters would not know who to vote for.

With the primary now just a month away, the candidates have a lot of work to do just to try to get voters to recognize them.

Candidate Ella Scarborough says the lack of recognition could work for some candidates.

The new statewide Mason Dixon poll shows that 71 percent of respondents recognize Scarborough, a former Charlotte City Council member.

D.G. Martin was recognized by less than have of poll respondents. He says that's despite the fact he has run in close races before.

The poll found 53 percent of voters don't recognize D.G. Martin. And despite a $1 million television ad campaign, 51 percent don't recognize John Edwards, who says "regular" people aren't represented..

Even with those numbers, 23 percent of Democratic voters say they would vote for Edwards If the election we're held today, 14 percent would vote for Martin, and 8 percent for Scarborough, but with no big Democratic names in the race, a whopping 53 percent remain undecided.

Lauch Faircloth is the incumbent. He says times are good, and that means people aren't paying as much attention to government.

Rob Christensen ofThe News & Observersays there are several reasons why people might not be paying attention right now.

Mason Dixon found if the election were held today incumbent Faircloth would easily defeat any of his challengers, but only 42 percent have a favorable opinion of Faircloth, and 17 percent don't like him. That makes him somewhat vulnerable. Another 37 percent have no opinion of the incumbent. That has forced Faircloth to make some changes and soften his image, according to Christensen.

Even though the poll results show Senator faircloth as vulnerable... voter opinion of the incumbent is better than it was this time in 1992. That's the year he defeated then incumbent Terry Sanford.