Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Public Policy Polling: North Carolina

While we wait for the next PPP polling data for the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is very interesting to see the shift undertaken to our south in North Carolina since Sen. John McCain selected Gov. Sarah Palin has his running mate.

The Democrats have for many months seen Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia as electoral votes that they thought Barack Obama would be successful in putting in play before the General Election. Remember the 50 State Strategyalluded to in the Primary.

It appears as though, for now, that the selection of Palin may have thrown a wrinkle in those plans.

Latest polling data has demonstrated a shift in NC to John McCain 48-44. This follows Florida's PPP data moving McCain to 50-45. We are still waiting to learn what the latest shift in the Virginia and Georgia polls will be, but based on the turnout today in Fairfax, Virginia, a heavily pro-Democrat area, I would expect some real fireworks on the way.

Many pundits are calling Virginia, like North Carolina a few weeks ago, too close to call. That said, Barack Obama has been losing ground in many polls throughout the country since the GOP Convention conlcuded. In Michigan for example, the PPP data has Obama leading now 47-46 whereas many pundits, especially MSNBC's, were given Michigan to Obama as late as last week. McCain is gaining in Ohio as well.

So whats up?

Simple. Its the small town and rural community vote that is fueling McCain/Palin's rise in the polls.

In North Carolina; Obama trails the McCain/Palin ticket 58-32 in rural areas. In the suburbs Obama is leading 48-47 and Obama also commands the urban areas 62-33. The problem is there are alot more rural areas scattered throughout the State and according to the data 7% of those in small towns/rural areas are still undecided.

The other troubling data point is in the latest PPP NC data:

49% respondents were Democrats and McCain earned 18% of that vote and 44% of the Independent vote

Another interesting data point is the Senate race in NC:

Elisabeth Dole (R) had been trailing K. Hagan throughout much of the year but as of this poll she has narrowed Hagan's lead to 43-42 and picked up 3% since the Palin announcement and the Governor's race is virtually a dead heat as well.

Given that 49% of respondents were Democrat and 36% were republican with 15% Independent, it appears as though McCain is taking just enough conservative Democrats and enough Independents to throw him over the top in NC.

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