On the same poll where we found Pat McCrory 12 points ahead of Bev Perdue in a hypothetical rematch, we also asked Republicans in the state who they would most like to see as their 2012 nominee from a laundry list of choices who may or may not have any interest in running. McCrory came out as the big leader there as well. 37% of Republicans said they want McCrory as their nominee with the next closest people being Tom Fetzer at 12% and Virginia Foxx at 11%. Rounding out the 'field' were Sue Myrick at 6%, Fred Smith at 4%, Cherie Berry and Patrick McHenry at 3%, and Phil Berger at 2%.
The best news for McCrory within the numbers might be that he's even stronger with conservatives than he is with moderates. 39% of conservatives say they want him as their nominee while 31% of moderates do. Additionally McCrory's favorability with conservatives is 50/8 while with moderates it's 31/16. McCrory did a lot of things not traditionally associated with Republicanism while he was Mayor of Charlotte and some view him as a potential Tea Party target because of that. At least for now though his crusading around the state on behalf of conservative causes over the last two years has him in pretty good standing with the base.
What might be most noteworthy is that while McCrory defeated Smith, who positioned himself as a more conservative alternative, by only a 46-37 margin in the 2008 primary the margin between them is now 33 points. Obviously if McCrory ended up having a single well financed challenger further to the right in 2012 that person might be able to get some steam but at the moment he looks extremely formidable with the GOP primary electorate.
McCrory's done a great job of positioning himself the last few years. He's been able to shore up his standing with the base without hurting his unusual level of popularity with Democrats and independents. Things will get tougher for him once either a Republican challenger or Bev Perdue starts holding him to account more for things but he's in a great place for now.
Full results here