So the election is now less than two months away, and the race for Governor is much closer than anyone expected. Here's what I think needs to happen for Bev Perdue to pull away in the next two months:
-We need to see more of Bev. Most voters in the state have probably not heard a word out of Bev's mouth since the primary. While Pat McCrory was up on the air in August telling us personally what he was going to do to help our pocketbooks (even if it's mularkey) the ads running on Perdue's behalf were almost all of the 'sinister voiceover' variety. Perdue's best run of this entire campaign was the three weeks leading up to the primary when her ads were heavily focused on herself talking about what she was going to do if she was elected. I think the most effective way Perdue can be presented these last two months is in ads where she's talking the whole thirty seconds about what she'll do if elected on pocketbook issues, health care, and education. Sometimes going back to basics is the best course of action. When people see and hear Bev, most of them like her. Put that reality to good use.
-Attacks on McCrory need to have more of a human face put on them. The strategy the Perdue campaign and the Alliance for North Carolina seem to be independently pursuing of exposing McCrory not to be the moderate he purports to be is the right one, particularly when it comes to winning over Democrats in the voter heavy Charlotte media market who might be looking at splitting their ballots right now. But all the negative ads that ran in August seem to have fallen flat. I think the attacks on McCrory need to feature real people talking about how his leadership as Governor would be a bad thing for them personally and the state of North Carolina. Instead of having voiceover man talking about vouchers being bad, how about having a school teacher tell us. If we want to make an issue of McCrory opposing raising the minimum wage while taking trips to Paris, let's hear a low wage worker talk about how he has the wrong priorities. I don't think voters tend to trust a faceless voice telling them not to like a politician, but if they hear it from someone who looks like their neighbor it may be a different story- finding ways to go after McCrory's record and issue stances that really resonate with voters will be key moving forward.
-Court black voters hard. The Perdue campaign did a tremendous job in the primary of reaching out to black voters through robocalls, direct mail, and radio. While it may be tempting to just assume that everyone turning out to vote for Obama this fall will fill in the straight ticket oval, I think it's dangerous to take that for granted. Our polling is showing a surprising number of black voters reporting as undecided in the races other than President. I'm sure many of those folks will end up voting the Democratic ticket, but better safe than sorry- go back to the outreach efforts that worked so well against Moore. And it sure would be great if the Democratic Party could get Barack Obama to record some calls reminding folks they need to vote for Perdue, Kay Hagan, and the entire Democratic ticket as long as they're casting their ballots for him.
That's my big three for now. The Perdue campaign had a bad August, just as it had a bad March during the primary. But they bounced back in April with a tremendous effort over the last three weeks of the race to win by a large margin- they are more than capable of doing that again, but it may take some changes from the current direction of the campaign to make it a reality.