Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unaffiliateds and the Republican race

Dome reports that Pat McCrory is concerned about unaffiliated voters choosing the Democratic ballot. He should be, and it's been reflected in our polls.

There is a stereotype that unaffiliated voters in North Carolina are moderates with views in between the two parties. Certainly there are unaffiliated voters who fit that description but it's not necessarily a majority. In Orange County most unaffiliated voters are stubborn liberals who don't think the Democratic party is sufficiently progressive. I'm sure that in many conservative areas conservatives disenchanted with Republican leadership don't register with the party as well.

When it looked like the North Carolina Presidential primary wouldn't matter, Pat McCrory was sitting pretty with the unaffiliateds. He led the first four polls we broke out that way 27-12, 23-17, 27-16, and 32-12 with that group.

In our final two primary polls though Smith actually leads among the unaffiliated voters- 35-29 this week and 46-34 this week.

Why the difference? I think in February and March plenty of those centrist unaffiliateds were planning to vote in the GOP primary, and inclined to support McCrory. Now most of them are voting in the Democratic primary, and the ones who are left voting on the Republican side are those stubborn conservatives- and they're more likely to go for Smith.

The good news for McCrory? Our polls have picked up this trend the last couple weeks and he's still in the lead. It shouldn't be a deal breaker for him.

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