Monday, August 9, 2010

Obama in North Carolina

There was a bunch of hubbub Friday about whether Elaine Marshall would or would not want to campaign with Barack Obama. Should she want to? Our numbers can make an argument in either direction but ultimately the answer is probably yes.

In June we found that 30% of voters in the state would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by President Obama while 47% said they would be less likely to and 21% said it wouldn't make a difference either way. Republicans (80%) responded more negatively to an Obama endorsement than Democrats did positively (50%) and 46% of independents said they'd be less inclined to vote for someone endorsed by Obama to only 18% who said more likely.

If you look at those numbers in a vacuum the obvious conclusion would be that Marshall shouldn't let Obama anywhere near him. But another angle to look at it from is who the undecided voters are in the Senate race. Right now 49% of them are Democrats and only 30% are Republicans. They voted for Obama by a 51/43 margin and they still approve of him 48/44. With the folks who haven't decided how to vote yet Obama's a net plus.

You could make the argument that bringing Obama in might hurt Marshall with the folks supporting her who disapprove of Obama but there basically are none of them- only 4% of voters who disapprove of Obama are planning to vote for Marshall. And similarly only 5% of voters who do approve of Obama are planning to vote for Burr.

All in all it doesn't make a big difference either way but Marshall could probably get some small benefit from Obama.


Chuck T said...

perhaps left unsaid is that North Carolina has a significant number of African-American voters who still (according to most if not all polls) still enthusiastically support the president. It was with a huge number of African-Americans turning out in 2008 that states like North Carolina and Virginia switched from Red to Blue. For Marshal to win she needs to get a strong turnout among this group and Obama could help in that regard a good deal.

Anonymous said...

Also Obama would bring in a lot of money. If the damage isn't too big, then the amount of money he would bring in is definitely worth it.

KCinDC said...

There's a "him" that should be "her" in the third paragraph.

I've never liked the "Would __ make you more or less likely to vote for __?" questions, because the answers that you get from the fully decided voters are worthless. The true answer for them is that is has no effect, but the answer they'll actually give won't be that.

NRH said...

Don't underestimate the Obama upside, either. The worst outcome he faces is nothing happening - the economy stays in the dumps and Republicans stymie all efforts to do anything productive about it. It's what he's been dealing with all along anyhow. On the other hand, he could have a major surge if, for example, North Korea decides to start a shooting war, or Iran conducts a nuclear test. Nobody (except some lingering circles of crazed neocons) wants a new war. Nobody wanted 9/11 to happen, either (except for Al Qaeda), but that didn't stop George W. Bush from reaping massive political benefit from it.

Anonymous said...

Let me see now, if 47% of North Carolina voters reported that they would be less inclined to vote for a candidate, endorsed by Obama versus the 30% that stated the opposite, what makes you think that the 48% (obama supporters) of the undecided voters, representing but 8.16% (48%x17%) of the total, might somehow equate to being a plus for that candidate's/Marshall's chances this fall? Especially when you also take into consideration the remaining 7.48% (44%x17%)of the more likely to vote, undecided Republican voters - amazing! PPP has Marshall trailing Burr by just 2% - AS IS! Yet the differential between the less/more inclined voters is 18% if, in fact, Obama endorses her. That's -18% for Marshall. It's called political suicide. No doubt about it! If I were Marshall I would be telling Obama to stay home - and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, no endorsements!!!

Dustin Ingalls said...

It's also worth noting that of the 26 states we've polled this year, NC gives Obama the highest approval of any "red" state, at 44-50. And Obama is still more popular than Marshall, and voters approve of his job performance as president more than they do of Burr's as senator by 8 points on the margin.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to refute or discredit your/PPP's
polling numbers, BUT Rasmussen has Obama's approval ratings amongst North Carolina's likely voters at 41/57, while Elaine Marshall's VERY favorable/unfavorable numbers are at 17/18.

More to the point; shouldn't polling numbers, regarding the likely-hood of voters voting for a candidate endorsed by Obama versus one that has not, logically trump those numbers comparing Obama's approvals, with those of Elaine Marshall's? Just asking.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Anon: Not necessarily. As has been pointed out elsewhere, when answer options are "more likely," "less likely," "makes no difference," etc., a lot of the time, people answer "more" or "less likely" when they are just reiterating their existing approval or disapproval for something or someone, opinions which would not change regardless of any contingencies or external factors. They will not budge. So their most appropriate answer option is "doesn't make a difference." We saw that when we found a lot of people, particularly Republicans, saying the BP oil spill makes them shockingly more likely to support oil drilling off the coast. Clearly they couldn't really mean that, so they are really just indicating fervent support REGARDLESS of the spill, which means they really haven't changed their minds and are just redoubling their efforts, so to speak.

jason said...

Obama's NC approval ratings are upside down, as we all know, with a very low don't know/no opinion number (single digits). Conversely, Burr, who has roughly equal approve/disapprove numbers, has an almost equal don't know/no opinion number. Marshall has a similar approve/disapprove ratio but an even more substantial don't know/no opinion number. Obama is an obvious drag on Marshall any way you cut it. She hasn't been able to get her numbers above 40% in any poll and there is more danger for her to campaign with him than not. If Obama stays away from the race, Marshall has a chance to tie herself to state rather than national issues. If that's the case, look for Burr to still win by high single digits. If Obama comes into the state, nationalizing the race for Marshall, Burr will win by double digits (15-20% range). Unless there is a scandal tied to Burr, he's re-elected come November. That being said, Marshall has a better chance w/o Obama's help.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Conversely, Burr, who has roughly equal approve/disapprove numbers"

Roughly equal? I just said above that he's worse off than Obama is. Obama's at 46-50, and Burr's at 32-44.

"She hasn't been able to get her numbers above 40% in any poll"

Wrong again. She was at 42% in our May poll. Now, in a 3-way with Beitler at 7%, she's at 37%. More importantly, Burr's been under 50% every month--in fact, he's been under 40% the last two months when we've been testing the 3-way.

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