Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pollster Profile: Telephone Strategies Group

The NC Association of Realtors hired the Telephone Strategies Group to conduct its latest poll on the transfer tax. The Telephone Strategies Group was founded in 1998 and is run by Jaimey Sexton out of Chicago; however Jaimey and his company were located in North Carolina until a few years ago.

A large portion of the company’s clients are from North Carolina: NCAE, SEANC, NC Center for Voter Education and the NC Beer Wholesalers Association. Politically, the Telephone Strategies Group works for Democrats, including the DNC and North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller.

The company is mostly known for voter contact services, like robocalls and live person ID, GOTV, and persuasion calls. I can only find evidence of two polls they have conducted; one for the realtors and another in Tennessee.

Given that the poll had only 20 questions and none were open ended leads me to think it may have been an automated poll, but there is no documentation either way. If anyone knows, please correct me.

War of the Words

It’s now en vogue to criticize someone else’s polling as biased. It’s the easiest way discredit a pollster’s results, especially when you don’t like them. We’ve done it here, here and here. Civitas has done it here, here and here. Under the Dome here; Progressive Pulse here; and Capital Beat here. There nothing wrong with a strong critique of polling questions. In part, that’s why this blog exists. But sometimes I think we may go too far, and end up missing the story.

Claiming bias is also a good way to avoid having to analyze polling results. Just cast the results aside as biased and you’re done with it. The N&O fell in that trap yesterday when discussing our recent Raleigh survey concerning Dorothea Dix Park. Ryan Beckwith makes the observation:

A follow-up question asked if voters would support leasing a smaller section of the park, but it's tainted by wording of the "historic core" that is "crucial to the success of a future destination park."

Fair enough. But he doesn’t report the results of the question, and most importantly misses the fact that while he considers the wording tainted, it is still true. Sometimes the truth is biased and that’s not a bad thing. Bias is also a matter of opinion. Some may consider a question biased, while others disagree. Some polling questions are also intentionally biased as a scientific way to measure the strength of an argument.

I tried to avoid simply claiming bias when discussing the most recent poll released by the NC Association of Realtors. The poll was biased, no doubt. But instead of claiming bias and walking away, I tried to point out instances when the question wording was not just bias, but factually inaccurate or misleading.

I didn’t further analyze the results of that poll on this blog, but there are lessons to be learned from the results. And in counties that will now face a transfer tax referendum, I suggest people look at these poll results for insight into how their pro-and-anti-transfer tax campaigns should be run.

Even in the face of bias we shouldn’t be scared to analyze, there is still something to be learned. Factual inaccuracy, however, is a different story.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Raleigh bond for Dorothea Dix?

According to last week’s survey of likely Raleigh municipal election voters, a strong majority would support a bond referendum to help the city purchase the Dorothea Dix property from the state in order to turn it into a city park.

The city of Raleigh is currently attempting to buy the Dorothea Dix property from the state government in order to turn it into a city park. Would you support or oppose an 80 million dollar bond referendum to help the city purchase Dorothea Dix?

Support 58%
Oppose 33%

The state government may offer to lease the city of Raleigh approximately 200 of the 306 acres of Dix land for 99 years on the condition that Raleigh would spend millions to improve the land as a park. However, the state offer would not include the main hill and historic core of the Dix property. Dix Park advocates claim that the historic core is crucial to the success of a future destination park. Should Raleigh accept or reject such an offer from the state?

Accept 21%
Reject 53%

Complete results here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Off to the races

Last Friday, July 20 marked the end of the filing period for municipal elections in North Carolina. Today we released the first poll on city elections in the Capital City. Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is running unopposed this year, but there are six candidates for two at-large council seats. Additionally, there is an $88.6 million Parks Bond on the ballot.

Raleigh Parks Bond

For 64%
Against 29%

City Council at-large first choice (voters get two choices)

Stephenson 16%
Anderson 11%
Baldwin 7%
Best 3%
Tart 2%
Williams 1%
Undecided 60%

Second Choice

Anderson 7%
Stephenson 6%
Baldwin 5%
Tart 3%
Best 2%
Williams 2%
Undecided 75%

Complete results here. Next week we will release more results from this survey concerning the future of the Dorothea Dix property.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Realtors drop a doozy

I am not sure I want to seriously analyze the results to this latest poll, not only because many of the questions are severely loaded, but also because in many cases they are factually incorrect. They start the survey by framing the issue completely inaccurately:

Q3. There is a current debate ongoing in the North Carolina Legislature about placing a one-percent sales tax on all real estate transactions in the state. The tax would be paid for by the seller of the property. For example, if you owned a $200,000 home, you would pay a $2,000 tax to the government at the closing. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a real estate transfer tax.

There is no debate about a one percent tax; it is only .4 percent or $800 on a $200,000 home. And it wouldn’t be on all real estate transactions in the state. It would only be in counties that first approved the new tax in a county-wide referendum.

Q4. In North Carolina, the Legislature reported earlier this year a $1.3 billion budget surplus, yet, there are talks ongoing in the General Assembly that would create a new tax on real estate transactions. With surplus money, the state should NOT increase taxes because when it comes to taxes my family has hit the limit. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a real estate transfer tax?

Any revenue from a transfer tax would go to the county budgets, not the state budget so the surplus doesn’t apply. And whether or not there really is a surplus is a matter of contention. Same goes for Q10.

The loaded wording continues for the duration. See for yourself.

If there ever were transfer tax referenda in North Carolina counties, Public Policy Polling will provide quality, unbiased polling of their success or failure. See our work on the Wake County School Bond. In the meantime, I don’t think Q13 is worth the paper it’s printed on.

New Realtors Poll

Hat-tip to Under the Dome. Survey results here.

I will have much more on this poll later. I need time to digest it all. But here's a sample of one of the questions:

A real estate transfer tax will be paid by the property seller. It is a tax on your hard work. It is a tax on the American Dream. It is a bad idea. I would not support a state legislator who supports creating a real estate transfer tax. Strongly agree, somewhat agree....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Edwards' lead in NC remains

It’s been a busy couple of weeks of polling for us. So let me get back to discussing the Civitas poll. Lost in the shuffle were their results in the primary races. Results are here:

Democrat President
Edwards 26%
Clinton 23%
Obama 17%

Democrat Governor
Perdue 33%
Moore 24%

Republican President
Thompson 28%
Giuliani 21%
McCain 10%
Romney 8%

Republican Governor
Orr 16%
Smith 16%
Graham 8%

After our July poll had Edwards losing his lead in North Carolina, many people decried it as the end of the Edwards campaign. According to this poll, that’s probably premature. Edwards still has strength in his home state.

The Civitas poll confirms our findings that Fred Thompson, the non-candidate candidate, has taken the lead in the Tar Heel State. From what I’ve seen of polls in other states, Thompson is leading in most southern states, while he trails Giuliani and Romney in non-southern states, particularly Iowa and New Hampshire. Since such a large part of the Republican Party is based in the south, that helps explain his high standing in national polls, but it won’t help him as much in the early winner-take-all primaries – besides South Carolina.

In the Governor’s races, Civitas consistently has Beverly Perdue leading Richard Moore by more than we do. They have her leading by 9 points; we put her lead at 4.

Monday, July 23, 2007

NC Supports Renewable Energy; Opposes paying for new nuclear plants

The Conservation Council of North Carolina released today a poll confirming that North Carolina likely voters are very much in favor of renewable energy sources, and they think the state government should take action to protect the state against global warming. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling. Click here for the press release and complete results.
Global Warming

Serious Threat 62%
Unproven Theory 33%

Support Expansion of: Solar Power

Support 89%
Oppose 11%

Wind Power

Support 88%
Oppose 12%


Support 37%
Oppose 63%

Nuclear Power

Support 61%
Oppose 39%
More from the press release:
…When asked if the North Carolina government should act now to reduce the amount of pollutants that may contribute to climate change, 76% of likely voters supported intervention...

However on the question of nuclear energy, the results were less positive as respondents were given additional choices about that technology. When asked if they would be willing to pay higher utility rates to support the construction of new nuclear plants, the majority of respondents answered no, they would not support new construction. The majority, 72%, also believed that consumers should not start paying for the construction of new power plants before they become operational – a funding scheme known as Construction Work In Progress (CWIP).

The majority of those polled, 77% support higher utility rates if the revenue generated supported the use of renewable energy sources versus nuclear power plants. And 79% of respondents believe that power companies should be required to invest more in energy efficient practices. …

… “The poll shows what we’ve long suspected” said Nina Szlosberg President of the Conservation Council of NC. “Most people want us to do something about global warming now and they want us to do it through clean, renewable technologies.”

“We hope this poll helps lawmakers understand that they are heading in the wrong direction in the energy debate. If they listen to the people they represent, they will go back to the drawing board and produce an energy bill that promotes alternative energy without giving away “the farm” to the utilities.” …

Obesity in North Carolina

Friday was Carrie and Mark's last day with Public Policy Polling. They did great work for us this summer, and I hope you enjoyed their contributions as well.

Click here to see Carrie's final survey, released today. Below are some quotes from the press release.
According to the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of North Carolina voters, obesity ranks among their top three public health concerns with Cancer named the most pressing public health issue, followed by obesity and heart disease.

Fifty-four percent of respondents are very concerned about the high rate (24.2% among adults) of obesity in North Carolina, another 34% percent reported being somewhat concerned, while only 12% answered being not very or not at all concerned.

Results were split as to whether or not the North Carolina state government should take action to fight obesity, with 45% supporting involvement and 46% opposed.

However, a large majority, 77%, supported requiring all fast-food and chain restaurants to display nutritional information on menus and menu boards.

And 87% strongly or somewhat approves banning the sale of all junk foods, defined for respondents as high-fat, high-sugar snacks and sugared beverages, from all public school campuses.

“Although North Carolinians are initially reluctant to the idea of state government intervention in the fight against obesity, some specific policy proposals were very popular,” said Carrie McMillan of Public Policy Polling.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Response to Civitas

Over at Red Clay Citizen, Civitas takes some shots at our polling methodology and some recent polls we have conducted for clients. I’m not going to get into a pissing match calling their polls biased and our polls unbiased. But I will respond to a few specific points they made.

I left in the "press 1 on your keypad" part of the quote to let readers know that Public Policy Polling has no way to verify if their respondents are 5-year-olds, 15-year-olds, much less who they claim they are. But I digress...

Apparently, our respondents have grown from 12-year-olds to now 15-year-olds. I’ve discussed that point here and here. This seems to be the standard complaint from people who don’t like our results. It’s a form of “attack the messenger, instead of the message.”

The most egregious bias in this is that it frames the question in such a way as to suggest any county has EVER ONCE suggested that transfer taxes would be an alternative to property taxes.

That, in fact, is the case in many fast growing counties in North Carolina. In Wake County, for example, school construction needs in the next decade are estimated to cost at least $4.5 billion. That’s just for school construction, which has nothing to do with new teachers and classroom needs, nor does it account for roads, parks or any other infrastructure costs.

Wake County cannot pay for those billions of dollars without raising revenue. Right now, the only option is property taxes, because the state government doesn’t give the county the authority to use the transfer tax, sales tax, or impact fees.

Revenues are going to have to be raised, if not transfer taxes (which is the only other option on the table right now), then it will have to be property tax increases.

The other misleading aspect of this is that it repeats "one-time". But the fact is: you will pay the tax every time you sell your home.

How many times can you sell your home? Only once. Then it’s not yours anymore. You pay property taxes every year.

Here's a comparable question from June's Civitas Poll:

"A transfer tax is a tax assessed against the seller of a home or property at the time of the sale. Do you support a 1 percent transfer tax on homeowners selling their home to help local government pay for the costs associated with growth?"

That’s not the issue before the legislature. The legislature is debating whether to give counties the authority to have a referendum in order to establish a transfer tax. Voters in each county that decides it wants to have a referendum are free to vote no. Right now the legislature won’t let citizens even put it to a vote.

If Wake County decides to have a transfer tax referendum, I'm sure PPP will poll on it. Our polls on elections and referenda have been extremely accurate and fair.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Could Dole be ready to break from Bush on Iraq?

Republicans in the US Senate continue to block attempts to establish any sort of timetable for withdrawal from the War in Iraq. North Carolina’s Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr were among the obstructionist Republicans. According to the latest Civitas Poll, they don’t have the support of North Carolina voters behind them. From the Civitas Poll:

Do you support or oppose Congress passing legislation that would set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within the next year and also provide full funding for the troops presently fighting in Iraq?

Support 57%
Oppose 33%
Not sure 10%

Former Raleigh Mayor and current Dole campaign consultant, Tom Fetzer spoke at the Civitas luncheon on Wednesday. He stated that two-thirds of the Republican senators up for reelection in 2008 have expressed some break with the President over his Iraq strategy. Fetzer went on to say that he would expect even more Republican defections by the end of the quarter.

I assume Elizabeth Dole is not one of the senators who have broken from the President on Iraq already. Is Fetzer forecasting something to come from Senator Dole?

More on the Civitas Poll

In light of responses to the previous post concerning Civitas, here are some more of the results from their poll, which had been promised anyway.

The question about donating the money given to people by Jim Black to charity was not worth mentioning because its such an over simplification of the issue. Just because Jim Black gave money to other candidates doesn't mean that money is tainted as well. And of course when you mention donating money to charity in a question there will be a lot of support. I really don't think donating money to charity that was given illegally reflects well on people's intentions. I also don't care either way if the money is donated to charity or not, its not a bad idea in principle. The problem is that the real issue isn't what to do with the money, but dealing with ways to stop corruption in the first place, regardless of party. Giving the money to charity isn't going to solve anything, therefore, its not a useful issue. One more thing. Only 4% of people in this poll listed "Government corruption" as "the most important issue facing...North Carolina." That's another reason I didn't mention that result in my previous post that hit on the major parts of the poll.

Another question that asked about global warming as a state or national/international issue was very poorly worded in my view. Here's what the question asked:
Do you think state government should enact new laws to control global warming in North Carolina or is it a problem that can best be solved through national and international action?
I think that is it a problem that can be solved through national and international action but I also believe that NC should enact some laws to help control it. I'm sure a lot more people feel that way as well and there was no way for people to voice that opinion. Had the question asked if NC should enact laws or if it should not do anything and leave the issue for national/international action, the results might have been different.

A question was asked about "a state program that would provide clean needles to illegal drug users using taxpayer dollars." I don't see why this question was included in the survey because its not really an issue. Provisions like this are added to bills in the legislature by the hundreds, its a fact of how of government works. The only reason the question is in the poll is to stir up the conservative base, while the majority of voters are ambivalent about it.

There were also several questions concerning health care costs. One asked about mandates that require coverage for counseling and alcohol and drug abuse that raise insurance premiums. People overwhelming support tailoring their own needs in order to reduce health care costs, but what the question did not mention is that that would result in extremely high rates for people who did need insurance to cover their needs. The same concept comes up in the question about a high risk insurance pool for the chronically ill. Though it would reduce costs for most people, the chronically ill would have to pay an inordinate amount for health care. The point is that our system works on the fact that everyone sacrifices in order to help those who need it, which some people don't agree with in principle. However, the questions didn't address the lower cost of health coverage at the expense of others, which is something to consider.

One last point. Jack Hawke made a big deal about how Congress' approval is lower than President Bush's but people still say they would vote for a Democrat is the the congressional election were held today. He seemed baffled by why that was, even though its painfully obvious. People aren't mad at the Democrats in the leadership, they're mad because the Republicans won't allow the Congress to vote to get out of Iraq. That is really the only issue that people are giving any credence to right now. An overwhelming majority of the state and the nation wants us to leave Iraq, and all people see is the effort to which Republicans in Congress are going to stop that from happening, and they hate them for it. That is why Congress has such low approval ratings. The fact that Republicans at Civitas are unwilling to see that is alarming and shows just how blinded by ideology they are. They are too busy hating everything Democrats do to see what's really going on: people are abandoning their party because they hate the War, plain and simple. Until the War ends in any real fashion, any other issue will take a back seat.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

North Carolinians want to vote on proposed transfer tax

Complete results here.

Press release:

According to a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP),North Carolinians want the opportunity to vote on whether or not their county can use a transfer tax by a margin of nearly 10 to 1. The survey was commissioned by the Partnership for North Carolina’s Future.

Eighty four percent of those surveyed agreed that “voters in each North Carolina county should be able to vote on whether or not their counties can use a one time transfer tax to pay for communities needs…”, while only 8% were opposed.

“People want the same right to vote on the transfer tax that other counties have and they would be more likely (62-14) to vote for legislators who support giving them that vote,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

When given a choice of how to pay for schools, safe, clean water, better roads, open spaces and housing for seniors, those surveyed preferred a 1% transfer tax to a 10% property tax increase 75% to 25%. On average a 1% transfer tax would be equal to about a 10% property tax increase in most counties.

Survey respondents also favored (82%-18%) an impact fee charged to developers for each newly built home or business and a large majority (62%-38%) supported a tax on realtor commissions to help pay for community needs.

Additionally, 79% felt that realtors were being hypocritical by saying that a 1% transfer tax would prevent people from buying a home when those realtors charge a 6% commission.

In the last election the realtors and homebuilders made more than $900,000 in contributions to legislative candidates. According to the survey, 70% of likely North Carolina voters said they would be less likely to vote for legislators who received large contributions from realtors and homebuilders.

PPP surveyed 517 likely North Carolina voters on July 17. The survey has a margin of error of ± 4.3%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

Complete results are attached and include crosstabs breaking down the results by gender, party affiliation, race, and age. If you have questions about this release or would like an interview regarding this release, please contact Dean Debnam at (888) 621-6988 or 919- 880-4888.

New Civitas Poll

The Civitas Institute issued a new poll today on the Presidential and statewide primaries as well as some health care issues. Here are some of the interesting results:

Bush Approval
17% Strongly Approve
20% Somewhat Approve
14% Somewhat Disapprove
46% Strongly Disapprove

NC Legislature Approval
45% Approve
38% Disapprove

Congress passing legislation setting a timetable for withdrawl from Iraq
57% Support
33% Oppose

Is global warming a threat to NC?
63% Yes
29% No

Most of the questions concerning health care are not worth mentioning because they're so ridculous. There will be more to come on this poll, including more commentary. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scooter Libby Poll Results

We released a new poll today, the complete results of which can be found here, dealing with the Scooter Libby fiasco. Here are some highlights.

Not surprispingly, most people think that the punishment handed to Libby was fair. We found that 60% of people thought his punishment was correct OR too lenient and only 35% think it was too harsh. Unfortunately, 45% of people think Bush should have pardoned or commuted him, and 50% think he should have just stayed out of it. Even in a conservative state like NC, I thought more than 50% of people would be unhappy with Bush's handling. It seems like his base it still supportive for whatever reason.

We also asked people if they think Bush had some kind of roll in the leak scandal. 48% think he had nothing to do with it, but 28% think he did something illegal and 17% think he did something unethical. Obviously, if people held a better view of Bush and his ratings were higher, more than half the state would support him on this. It just irks me that the Republicans continue to support him without a valid reason. However, that many people thinking he did something illegal is nothing to be happy about, and it does show the split between those who still love W and those who hate him.

When it comes to Cheney, people seem to have a lower opinion. We found that 52% of people think he was involved in a cover-up to prevent prosecutors from finding out who really leaked the name; 37% think he wasn't involved in a cover-up. Also of note, 50% of the state, thinks this scandal indicates low ethics in the Bush Administration, which might be the most important finding of the poll. Though that opinion was largely confined to Democrats, a growing number of Republicans are beginning to distrust this administration and its disregard for law, oversight, and ethics. Maybe that will help the Democrats make some gains in NC in 2008.

Take a look at the entire survey and report and let us know what you think.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Room to grow

Crosstab analysis of our latest poll should give Democrats even more reason to be optimistic about their chances against Elizabeth Dole. The Democratic candidate will have much more room to grow his/her support.

When Dole was matched-up against Grier Martin, 22% of Democrats were undecided but only 13% of Republicans. Maybe more importantly a third of unaffiliateds were undecided. Against Kay Hagan 35% of Democrats and 45% of unaffiliateds were undecided, compared to 18% of Republicans.

The poll crosstabs also indicate African-Americans were not fully behind the Democrats either. In the Martin match-up 23% of blacks were undecided and 31% were for Dole. For Hagan it was 38% undecided and 29% for Dole. I see no reason why the African-American community would not support the Democrat in 2008 with their usual 80-90% support. Some of the support for Dole can probably be explained by name recognition and celebrity status.

If you add up the support a Democrat should expect from Democrats, African-Americans and some unaffiliateds, then this race looks even closer to a tie.

NCCVE: Bush and Clinton Out-Poll … Bush and Clinton?

The NC Center for Voter Education released more of their statewide poll today. Earlier results are mentioned here. Today's results focus on the popularity of Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and also, Hillary Clinton. It appears that North Carolinians like the former presidents better than the current President and presidential candidate.

President GWB

43% Favorable
55% Unfavorable

Senator Clinton

46% Favorable
49% Unfavorable

The survey was conducted June 12-13 among 600 registered voters by American Viewpoint.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dole Attacks!

Apparently PPP has inspired the wrath of Elizabeth Dole's campaign. Mark Stephens, Elizabeth Dole’s campaign honcho and former ED of the NRSC, took issue with our most recent poll. He attacked our methodology as unsound, spouting the usual complaints about 12-year-olds answering our surveys – yada, yada, yada. We’ve heard that one before.

They got a WRAL news story amended to include a line about how “A polling firm that works with Dole questioned Public Policy's methodology.” Read the comments for more of Stephens’ complaints and my response. The fact is that there is no evidence of any the problems he mentioned. And his complaint ignores the imperfections of traditional telephone surveys.

We’ve have been running these match-up polls for months and have never seen this reaction out of the Dole camp. Bottom line: Something got them spooked.

Update: Even John Hood likes our methodology! (Scroll down)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Home state blues?

Before everyone goes and declares the John Edwards presidential campaign dead because he has fallen behind in his home state, take a look at the American Research Group poll conducted over the weekend in Illinois. In Barack Obama's home state, he leads Hillary Clinton by only 4 percent, 37-33.

Clinton and Obama are Democratic front-runners 1 and 1a. Their national lead is going to trickle down to the states. I think the North Carolina numbers are more of an indication of the strength of Clinton and Obama than of any home state weakness for Edwards.

For Edwards backers, the only polling that really matters is in Iowa, New Hampshire, and maybe South Carolina. If he wins Iowa, I predict he would bolt ahead in North Carolina polls too.

Dole Campaign Releases Poll

Hat-tip to Under the Dome. Click here for the polling memo. Here are the highlights according to the memo:
  • Only 28% of voters believe North Carolina is heading in the right direction
  • 61% approval rating for Dole
  • 59% have a favorable impression of her
  • 45% of North Carolina voters have a favorable impression of Senator Hillary Clinton
  • 49% of voters have a favorable impression of Senator John Edwards
  • 42% have a favorable impression of President George W Bush
  • Voters disapprove of both Republicans (61% disapprove) and Democrats (51% disapprove) in Congress
The poll was conducted by Voter Consumer Research between June 19-21 and consists of 500 registered voters.

The 61% approval rating is far from the 46% rating we released this morning. The polling memo only lists 9 questions. But these type of polls usually have between 25 and 50 questions. I'm suspicious that there were many other questions in the poll and those may have impacted the approval rating.

Elizabeth Dole 43, Grier Martin 37

Results from our latest poll released today. Click here for complete results.
Elizabeth Dole 43%
Grier Martin 37%

Elizabeth Dole 43%
Kay Hagan 27%

From our press release:
“To compensate for the extremely low name recognition of state legislators, we added a short description of Martin and Hagan to the survey,” explained Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

Martin was described as a “37 year-old two-term legislator” and “veteran of the War in Afghanistan,” while Hagan was a “five-term State Senator” and “chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

“Grier Martin, or his profile, does very well against Senator Dole,” said Debnam. “If he were to enter the race he could be even more competitive than other Democrats we have tested.”
More results:

Elizabeth Dole 46%
Elaine Marshall 35%

Dole Approval

Approve 46%
Disapprove 40%

Bush Approval

Approve 35%
Disapprove 61%

Monday, July 9, 2007

Jack Murphy for Lt. Governor

Robert P at BlueNC made an interested suggestion for our next primary tracking poll. He suggested adding the fictional name "Jack Murphy" to our next Lieutenant Governor tracking poll and hypothesized he would get 5-9%, putting him in the thick of the race. Robert's probably right.

At the moment none of the Lt. Gov. candidates are well known statewide. For the past 5 months, the five candidates have hovered around 10% each, while 60% of Democratic primary voters are undecided. That pattern is likely to continue until the candidates start spending money.

So why exactly are we polling the Lt. Gov. race this far out from Primary Day? We think it will be worth it once the campaign heats up, and especially after the primary. We will have established a long trend line for a low intensity statewide race-- something that hasn't been done in North Carolina before. That should prove valuable in analyzing the dynamics of the race. We will be able to see when voters start to make up their minds. Does that correspond to when people begin spending money? Will TV ads make a difference? Etc. Etc.

We will also begin tracking other council-of-state primaries once the candidate fields take shape in each party. The Republican and Democratic races for State Treasurer have started to come together in the last month, maybe we can start tracking that race by August.

Carolina Issues Poll

NC Policy Watch came out with a new poll today, conducted by Public Policy Polling. The survey is of 504 likely North Carolina voters and was conducted on July 5.

Click here for analysis.
Click here for press release.
Click here for complete results.
By Rob Schofield

Quick Take:

* NC Policy Watch, North Carolina’s leading provider of commentary and analysis on state public policy issues, released the latest edition of its Carolina Issues Poll today.
* According to the survey of likely voters throughout the state, North Carolinians strongly oppose a plan favored by state Senate leaders to cut income taxes on the wealthiest North Carolinians, but support extending the quarter cent sales tax hike first adopted in 2001.
* The poll also gauged voter attitudes on other state tax issues including an earned income tax credit and proposals to tax real estate transfers and realtor fees, as well as the issue of public subsidies for private colleges and universities.

Friday, July 6, 2007


For fun...

*I resized the Democratic Governor graph so you can see the changes better. It slightly exaggerates the changes compared to the other 3 graphs.

Who's talking about our latest poll?

Daily Kos
The Hedgehog Report
Free Republic
Real Clear Politics
Virginians for Fred Thompson
Top of the Ticket (LA Times)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Edwards slipping in home state?

Here are some selections from our analysis of the latest primary tracking poll. The bold parts sum up my thoughts on Edwards slipping into a tie with Clinton and Obama.
The Democratic Presidential race is tightening up, with this month’s poll showing a tie among the top three Democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both garner 27% support, while John Edwards has 26%. John Edwards’ support has continued to slide in North Carolina since a strong showing in April following the announcement of the recurrence of his wife’s cancer. The Edwards’ campaign has had a few media missteps in the last three months (his home, haircuts and hedge fund). Those problems coupled with Clinton and Obama winning the fundraising battle, could explain his drift and their growth in the poll.

Perhaps more importantly, Democratic Party demographics are against him. Women and African-Americans make up a significant majority of Democratic primary voters. Yet Edwards performs best among men and whites.

Not surprisingly Hillary Clinton leads among women and in the last month Obama has seen a surge in African American support. In July he received the support of 59% of blacks polled, fourteen percentage points higher than last month. Obama’s support from blacks has continued to rise over the seven months we have been tracking...

...It is important to note that Edwards performs much better in North Carolina than in national polls, where the latest poll averages have him in the low teens. His strength in North Carolina has waned mirroring national polling trends, fundraising, and punditry analysis. His success in North Carolina may depend upon his national success. If he remains a viable top-tier candidate, North Carolina will likely continue to support its native son. However, if his nomination becomes improbable his Tar Heel State supporters might drift to Clinton or Obama.

Three-way tie among Democrats in NC

Here are the results from the July Primary Tracking Poll. Complete results including crosstabs here.

Democratic President

Clinton 27%
Obama 27%
Edwards 26%

Democratic Governor

Perdue 34%
Moore 30%

Republican President

Thompson 34%
Giuliani 15%
Gingrich 13%
McCain 7%
Romney 6%

Republican Governor

Graham 23%
Orr 9%
Smith 9%

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

East tops West in BBQ Battle

Here are the particulars from PPP’s latest poll. Happy 4th of July!

Favorite Summer Vacation Spot

Beach 51%
Mountains 28%

Favorite Barbeque

Eastern 47%
Western 29%

License Plate Lettering

Old Blue 32%
New Red 26%

Favorite Pro Team

Panthers 49%
Hurricanes 14%
Bobcats 10%

Do you follow NASCAR?

Yes 34%
No 66%

Favorite local fruit

Strawberries 37%
Watermelon 21%
Peaches 16%
Blueberries 13%

Vacation in NC or out-of-state

North Carolina 52%
Out-of-state 48%

Favorite College Team

UNC 33%
NC State 17%
Duke 12%
Wake Forest 7%
ECU 6%

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pollster Profile: American Viewpoint

Last week we reported on a survey conducted for the NC Center for Voter Education by the polling company American Viewpoint. American Viewpoint is a national Republican polling firm located in Alexandria, VA. The company’s founder and president is Linda DiVall, a veteran of Republican campaigns and leader in developing Republican strategies for women and health care issues.

American Viewpoint’s political client list includes big names like Bush-Cheney ’04, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich. They have worked for numerous current and former Senators and Congressman. They have also done work for the Log Cabin Republicans and the Republican Majority for Choice.

North Carolina ties include working for former State Rep. Richard Morgan and Elizabeth Dole’s Presidential Campaign.

The non-political client list is a mixed bag of corporations and advocacy groups that span the ideological divide (for example, AARP, American Medical Association, AT&T, CBS News, NEA and Planned Parenthood).

The polling for the NC Center for Voter Education appears to have been lead by Randall Gutermuth, the Director of Political Affairs for American Viewpoint. Gutermuth has his own impressive list of Republican Senators, Governors and Congressman and corporate clients and was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns & Elections magazine in 2005.
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