Over at Talking about Politics, Gary Pearce says we have 'everybody confused' with the constant movement in our recent Gubernatorial polls.
I feel pretty good about all four polls we've put out in the last month on the race except for the one that showed Bev Perdue leading by 27 points. I do think she had a lead in the lower 20s at that point, which was in the middle of a period where she was on the air and Richard Moore wasn't, but I doubt it was really 27.
Why are the numbers moving so wildly? It's because voters are getting a lot of exposure to the race right now but they don't have strong feelings about the candidates one way or the other. In our most recent poll 80% of respondents said they had seen television ads for one of the candidates in the last week. 67% said they'd seen ads for both. So voters are seeing a lot of Moore and Perdue.
At the same time, neither of them has particularly solid support. Our poll last week showed that 50% of likely voters said they might change their minds about who to vote for between now and the election.
The combination of high exposure but low passion levels about the candidates I think makes poll respondents entirely likely to say they support one person one week and then say they support the other person the next week. In the most recent weeks they've each been running a variety of different ads and I think that's probably causing some portion of the electorate to move between them based on who had the most compelling message they had last seen.
It's interesting to note that while the Governor's race moved quite a bit between our poll on March 3rd and our poll on March 30th, the numbers in other state races on the ballot remained almost identical. So it's not like all of our figures are all over the place.
I would not be surprised to see the polling for this race remain somewhat volatile for the last five weeks of the campaign. The circumstances surrounding it are just a recipe for that.