As Katherine mentioned yesterday, when we asked folks last week whether they were more concerned that government deal with the environment or illegal immigration, they chose the latter 56-34.
Even among Democrats the environment won out by just a narrow margin, 47-43. Among Republicans (74-18) and independents (57-30) it was no contest.
If you wondered why Bev Perdue ran ads at the end of the campaign last year suggesting that Pat McCrory was running for 'Governor of Tijuana' there's your answer. At this point in North Carolina candidates speaking out on the environment just isn't going to be the vote getter that making yourself out to be the tough candidate on illegal immigration is.
One lesson in the poll is that the environmental movement still needs to do more to attract African Americans to the cause. Even though Democrats overall said that the environment was a bigger issue for them, blacks said it was illegal immigration by a 49-38 margin. It will take building more support across the entire Democratic coalition for environmental activists to make their issues a bigger deal for elected officials.
There is hope that change is on the way though. While 57-60% of the other three age groups all said they were more concerned about illegal immigration, voters under 30 said the environment by a 49-40 margin. Generational change may make a big difference in the issue priorities of North Carolinians.