Last week we wrote about one of Roy Cooper's biggest strengths as a possible 2010 Senate candidate, his ability to win over white Democrats who can often go either way when it comes to federal races.
Another of his key pluses as a candidate, on a somewhat related note, is his ability to win over voters in eastern North Carolina. Bev Perdue saved her campaign by doing well there, leading 60-38 in the 252 area code on our final pre election poll. Barack Obama put in a performance that was just good enough to allow him to pull out the statewide victory, 54-46. Erskine Bowles, on the other hand, significantly underperformed for a Democrat in the region, and that's why Richard Burr's running for reelection right now. Strength in the east can often make or break a candidate's chances.
If Cooper runs, the Nash County native is primed at this point for a very strong performance on his home turf. Right now he leads Burr 45-28 there. Allocating the undecideds, that puts him on track for over 60% there at this very early stage. Democrats who cross that 60% threshold are going to be statewide winners 95% of the time.
Cooper's profile as a moderate, law and order Democrat, as well as a native of the region gives him a strong appeal to eastern North Carolina voters. If he runs in 2010, they may well flip the balance to send him to Washington.