I'm afraid my post about our newest Governor poll yesterday may have left the false impression that I think Bev Perdue is writing off Charlotte. Far from it, she has actually made incredible strides in the region over the last year, without which her chances of being elected Governor would be significantly reduced.
The first three times we polled a potential McCrory-Perdue general election match up, back in the winter, McCrory held a lead of at least 35 points in each poll in greater Charlotte. In fact the very first poll, conducted in December before McCrory even officially entered the race, showed him up 61-20 in his home region.
After Perdue became better known to Charlotte area voters during her primary contest with Richard Moore her numbers relative to McCrory improved in two of our first three general election polls. Perdue cut his lead in the area down to 23 points in our first post-primary poll and 24 points in a survey conducted at the end of June.
With the coming of fall, and as Perdue has devoted more time and money to the region with lots of visits and television ads, her gap relative to McCrory has been cut even more. In our last seven surveys McCrory's lead in greater Charlotte has fluctuated between 8 and 18 points, representing roughly a 20-30 point improvement for Perdue relative to last winter.
Her improvement has come thanks to shoring up her support with black voters in the region, and peeling off a lot of the Democrats who were originally intending to vote region over party and cast a vote for McCrory. Although there are still a fair number of voters doing that it's not nearly as many as it was six months ago.
Perdue will not win the Charlotte metro area, but she has been effective in campaigning there enough to significantly reduce her deficit such that as the race stands her performance elsewhere in the state will put her over the top. If she hadn't been so successful in winning over more Charlotte voters her margins elsewhere would not be enough.