The column du jour for the Capital Press Corps this week seems to be the one about how Richard Moore is in big trouble. Scott Mooneyham wrote it earlier this week and Rob Christensen chimed in today.
It's not exactly breaking news, but it's true. At this point I think these are the facts:
-Moore is not going to win this race by making voters like him more than Bev Perdue. To some extent spending money touting his accomplishments or his issues is just going to result in more treading water, unless he can roll out some message about his record that's more compelling than what he's put forth so far.
-None of the attacks Moore has levied against Perdue over the last year through earned media and the internet have really taken hold. They've all been too insider baseball. For as much nastiness as there's been between the two candidates in this race the only attack I really think has been effective was Perdue's campaign holding the Parton fiasco against Moore. It was a real issue in the news all over the state that non-political junkies knew about. Her lead in our poll jumped from 9 to 16 the month after that played itself out in the press and her average lead between the most recent Elon, Civitas, PPP, and Survey USA polls has now gone up to 14 where it had been aroudn 9-10 previously.
So how does Moore win? Draw blood, and a lot of it over the last ten weeks. I would be shocked if he doesn't go on the air with negative ads in the next few weeks. But if all he has on her is stuff that the campaign has already rolled out I don't think that's going to work because none of it is going to resonate enough with low or mid information voters.
The ads need to take on some new lines of attack that focus on things that would actually make a significant mass of voters think less of Bev Perdue and they need to be understandable to folks beyond the political junkies. Blasting the Department of Transportation and blaming it on Perdue just isn't going to do it with too many voters I don't think.
It'll be interesting to see if the Moore campaign has some new tricks up its sleeves to tar Perdue with- if it doesn't it's hard to see this race turning around.