Bev Perdue 47
Pat McCrory 44
Michael Munger 5
Bev Perdue's campaign has made a clear calculus that they're willing to tick off Charlotte voters if it allows them to rack up the kind of margins they need to win in eastern North Carolina. Right now it seems to be working.
One of the biggest things that has kept Perdue from running away with this race is that Pat McCrory has consistently shown a huge lead in the polls in greater Charlotte, including major in roads with white Democrats, that Perdue has not been able to match in her home base of eastern North Carolina. Perdue has worked hard to shore up her support in Charlotte, but McCrory has consistently led the polls there by double digits.
So about two weeks ago it seems Perdue's campaign became heavily focused on the east. First she started running effective ads on Yankee trash, an issue that hits home much harder east of I-95 than it does anywhere else. Her newest set of ads attack McCrory for a Charlotte first mentality: if there was no inherent anti-Charlotte bias with voters outside the state of Mecklenburg, it seems, the Perdue campaign is trying to create one.
How's it all working? In the two polls before this new strategy Perdue led by an average of 48-42 in eastern North Carolina. In the two polls since her average lead is up to 54-38, including a new high of 56-36 in this week's poll. We project eastern North Carolinians to cast around 28-30% of the vote for Governor, so a ten point increase in her lead in that region gives her an extra three points statewide. That's huge in a tight race.
Of course folks in Charlotte aren't necessarily thrilled with Perdue's strategy. In the two polls before she started actively courting the east she trailed by an average of 52-41 there. In the last two she trails by an average of 53-39, with her 53-36 deficit this week the largest she's shown in Charlotte in a long time. So she's lost 3-4 points in a region of the state that will cast about 20% of the vote. That costs her a point statewide.
Forsaking a point in Charlotte to pick up three in the east? Could make the difference in a close race.
Full results here.