Thursday, May 31, 2007

Talking (Re: spinning) About Politics

Last week on his blog Carter Wrenn, after noticing President Bush’s low approval ratings in North Carolina, had this to say about one of our latest polls…

…none of this seems to be helping Hillary, Obama, or John Edwards. When the Democratic pollster asked, “Are you more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if John Edwards is the nominee” – 33% of the voters said Yes. But more, 46%, said no. (It was worse for Obama and Clinton.)

In other words 52% of the people disapprove of the job President Bush is doing. But, curiously, a lot of them are less likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if the candidate is John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama. That logic seems to be odd. But maybe there is an explanation. Voters face a double negative. A Hobson’s choice. And they’re saying to themselves, President Bush hasn’t done a good job, but, let’s face it, it could be worse.

That’s some serious spin.

In the exact same poll voters say they will vote for the Democratic presidential candidate over the Republican, 47%-42%. That’s a FAR cry from claiming North Carolinians think the Democrats could be worse than Bush.

Maybe Tar Heel voters would like a generic Democrat better than one of the top three contenders—that’s possible. But that reminds me of my earlier contention with the N&O who I think made a similar misinterpretation.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Crosstabbing across regions

A few days ago BlueSouth commented:

"The writer of the other kos diary asked the question, "why split the data up by area code?"

My thought was just that it is easier since you are dealing with IVR, but I know you pull your lists from voter records, so why not congressional districts? The other writer seemed upset by it for some reason, to me it really doesn't matter, since a cross tab is a cross
tab, but it has made me curious."

Good question. We split it by area code because it is easy. We can and do make geographical cross tabs in other ways, like Congressional districts, especially if a client wanted it.

I personally like using area codes because it splits the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte into distinguishable regions, where congressional districts do not. Also, with only 6 regions each cross tab is somewhat statistically significant, but with 13 regions, for example, the significance would decrease significantly.

New Around Here

My name is Carrie. I am one of two interns at Public Policy Polling this summer. I grew up in Raleigh and go N.C. State, majoring in History. I first became interested in politics in high school during the months preceding the war in Iraq. It concerned me then and has since. I am also particularly interested in environmental and sustainability issues. I have recently come across the WakeUp Wake County group and think they present a much needed message in our community.
During the 2004 political season, I volunteered with several local campaigns-Grier Martin and Erskine Bowles. I look forward to this internship giving me a look at another realm of the political world, that of public polling.

Polling poses problems for reporters

A summit of manufacturing officials organized by the North Carolina Chamber (formerly NCCBI) met in Greensboro this week. As part of the summit the NC Chamber released a poll of about 300 North Carolina manufacturers.

Here is how the News and Observer described the results

“45 percent said the N.C. economy was not on the right track; 43 percent said it was. 48 percent said the cost of doing business in the state was the same as elsewhere; 14 percent said it was worse and 25 percent said it was better. Asked whether they would consider leaving the state, 77 percent said no.”

Here is how the Winston-Salem Journal described the same findings

“About 45 percent of the 300-plus poll participants said that the state's economy is on the wrong track, 43 percent said that it was on the right track…. About 67 percent of the poll participants said that state and local taxes on businesses are too high, and 53 percent said that high taxes are a direct deterrent to growth.”

Without seeing the entire poll it’s hard to know whether the results were positive or negative for the state’s economy. From what was reported it seems pretty mixed. But the WSJ coverage paints a far dimmer picture than the N&O’s article.

I don't fault the WSJ for their coverage of the poll; the entire article is fair to both “sides.” But this example highlights a problem that limited newspaper or TV coverage has with polling. There are too many questions in a poll to write about all the findings. But often times you need to see the complete results before you can grasp the real truth behind the numbers.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Media Critics Corner

For whatever reason the Associated Press has been reluctant to write about or cite our poll results in their articles. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because we are a Democratic polling firm or our IVR methodology. But I think they are missing out, especially because the other major print and television outlets in North Carolina don’t seem to have any problem publishing our results.

Here is an example where they missed out:

In an article last week concerning Brad Miller contemplating running against Elizabeth Dole they cited the Elon Poll for Senator Dole’s approval rating. However, they misrepresented the data, saying the rating was among “North Carolina voters” when, in fact, the poll was of all adults not just voters.

That Elon Poll was also conducted in mid-April. Only a week and a half ago, PPP released a poll with an approval rating of Senator Dole among likely voters. In my opinion, our results were more timely and more relevant to the article.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Slavery Apology -- in Alabama

I found this interesting: Alabama residents barely support a formal apology for slavery from the state.

Q: Do you think the state of Alabama should apologize for its role in slavery and the injustices of discrimination?

Yes 45%
No 44%

Source: University of South Alabama / The Press-Register
Methodology: Interviews with 400 Alabama adults, conducted in May 2007. Margin of error is 5 per cent.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Charlotte-Mecklenburg favors potential school bond

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce released a poll this week showing that Mecklenburg voters want to keep their sales tax for mass transit and they would support a potential school bond referendum.

57% support keeping a half-cent sales tax for mass transit, while 40% oppose the tax.

The Chamber's poll tested different sizes for the school bond, and predictably support fell as the size of the bond increased. The poll found that Mecklenburg residents supported...

-a $400 million bond 61-35
-a $520 million bond 54-41
-a $620 million bond 51-45

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools favor a $620 million bond. The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by Charlotte-based MarketWise.

NC Hurricane Survey Results

Another reader sent me the complete North Carolina Hurricane Survey results. Click here to see for yourself (Word Document).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More on hurricane preparedness

Our reader, Jessica, had the following comment on hurricane preparedness:
"Actually Justin, the poll you're referring to is not the one Governor Easley is talking about. The survey the Governor referred to was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of 625 adults in North Carolina between May 8 and May 10. It has a margin for error of plus or minus 4%. This is a separate poll from the one for the National Hurricane Survival Initiative, although that one was also conducted by Mason Dixon. I am alarmed as to why you aren't using your blog to encourage North Carolinians to get prepared, especially since the poll also revealed most residents do not know the appropriate methods of preparing for a hurricane. Since North Carolina is the 2nd most hurricane-prone state, I think it is vital for residents to understand the importance of hurricane safety and preparations. I urge people to visit for more information on preparing for hurricanes and other disasters."
I'm sorry for the error. I had never heard of the North Carolina specific poll. I'd like to see the results if anyone know where I can find them. I'd encourage everyone to take a look at like Jessica suggests.

Easley: "Hurricane Preparedness Week"

This week is “Hurricane Preparedness Week” in North Carolina, so says Governor Easley. The proof is here.

So let’s look at some Hurricane related polling data. The article linked above cites a recent Mason Dixon Poll of hurricane afflicted states. The article claims that the poll “indicate[s] that most North Carolinians are not concerned about or prepared for major storms during this hurricane season.” That’s not really true. The poll showed that people across the hurricane afflicted region (Gulf and East Coast states) were not concerned or prepared, but not North Carolina specifically.

I like to think that North Carolinians are smarter.

In fact, I remember watching a Weather Channel report one day from one of those traveling reporters leading up to a hurricane who was discussing how impressed he was with North Carolina’s coastal residents. They were taking the threat seriously, and were boarding up their homes and business and planned to evacuate, while South Carolina residents took the threat less seriously. I was proud.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Daily Kos readership unleashed

The Daily Kos community is so huge and active that diaries can really create long and thoughtful conversations about any political issue. Our two latest polls got the Daily Kos treatment and the results are some pretty interesting discussions of Tar Heel politics...

North Carolina Presidential Primary Poll, May 1-3, 2007
New Poll NC Prez Dem 47 Rep 42 Update (posted by PPP's favorite blog reader: Blue South)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Under the Dome's take on our poll

Under the Dome this morning give our latest poll a prominent position, thank you N&O, but I think they misinterpreted the results. Here is what they reported:
But voters don't seem particularly overjoyed with any of the prospective Democrats. Those polled said they would be less likely to vote for the ticket if Democrats John Edwards, Barack Obama and especially Hillary Clinton were on the ticket.

Asked if they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if Edwards was the nominee, 33 percent said more likely and 46 percent less likely. The numbers were worse for Obama and Clinton.
Now that maybe the literal truth, but that’s not what the numbers are really saying. The questions were not meant for the topline results, but for the crosstabs and the comparisons between candidates.

We know that if Edwards were the nominee it would not make 79 percent of voters more or less likely to vote Democratic. Right now about 80% of voters know that they are already going to vote either for the Democrat or Republican. They might not admit it, but it’s the truth. It’s not going to matter if Edwards were the nominee or not.

It’s the other 20% of voters that matter, and the voter turnout by each party’s base. That’s why the crosstabs by “undecided” or unaffiliated are more interesting, than the topline numbers.

Friday, May 18, 2007

No surprise: Hillary is the least popular Democrat in North Carolina

In our latest survey we asked the following three questions in succession…

1) If John Edwards were the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, would that make you more or less likely to vote the Democratic ticket?

2) If Barack Obama were the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, would that make you more or less likely to vote the Democratic ticket?

3) If Hillary Clinton were the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, would that make you more or less likely to vote the Democratic ticket?

The top line results by themselves are not very interesting because this is an awkward question to answer. For example, some Republican might say that a Democratic candidate makes them less likely to vote Democratic, when in reality they would never vote Democratic anyway. The results are more valuable when comparing the three candidates against one another and especially in the crosstabs. Here is what we find when we compare the candidates against how people intend to vote for President:

John Edwards and Barack Obama perform similarly; with Edwards having a slight advantage. Edwards does best among people intending to vote Democratic and those who are undecided. Barack Obama has an advantage among Republican voters. Essentially, Obama enrages Republicans less than the other two candidates.

There is no doubt about who performs the worst; Hillary Clinton. While she gets a strong positive response from Democratic voters, she gets the strongest negative reaction from all three groups. Take a look at the complete results to compare the candidates against each other using other demographics.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Elizabeth Dole vs. Roy Cooper

Since our last Senate match-up between Elizabeth Dole and Brad Miller, one Democrat’s name has been repeatedly mentioned to me to try the next time. So here you go…Elizabeth Dole versus Roy Cooper.

Dole 46%
Cooper 36%

In reality this is not much different than the results of the Dole versus Miller poll from last month (44%-33%), and even a poll versus Bob Etheridge three months ago. Dole is below 50% and the Democrat doesn’t pull in all the support that a Democrat should expect from rank and file Democrats, especially blacks.

Many people thought that Roy Cooper's recent publicity regarding his effective handling of the Duke lacrosse case would make him a strong candidate. That may be true, but I don't think there is anything in these results to prove that theory.

Click here for complete results and below are some more highlights.

Bush Approval Rating

Approve 41%
Disapprove 52%

Dole Approval Rating

Approve 45%
Disapprove 41%

Generic Ballot Presidential Race

Democrat 47%
Republican 42%

I’ll have some more thoughts on the Presidential race in a later post.

OLF is a done deal in the public's mind

Last month a PPP survey showed that a plurality North Carolina voters were against building the OLF at the proposed location in Washington County. Now according to the Civitas poll a strong majority oppose the OLF.

"Do you support or oppose the U.S. Navy's proposal to build an outlying landing field [OLF] in Beaufort county near a nature reserve that includes a bird sanctuary?"

Support 18%
Oppose 62%

*Interesting note: Our question about the OLF didn't include any information about the bird sanctuary. So the Civitas question actually had a greater "liberal" bias than our question. Food for thought.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Civitas Poll is out

This whole Civitas poll is now available.

Interesting questions at first glance:

(To Republicans) Are you satisfied with the major candidates seeking the Republican nomination for President or would you like to see some new faces get into the race?

Satisfied 27%
New faces 61%

Would you support allowing illegal immigrants who have been in the country for several years to go through a process that would give them legal status and the possibility of citizenship?

Yes 58%
No 33%

Civitas Poll comes out today

The monthly Civitas luncheon is today, but I can't make it. I'll try to get a hold of the results as soon as possible, but if anybody out there does go to the luncheon please come share your thoughts with us! I going to miss the instant spin from the Jack Hawke about what the numbers mean.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Polling Websites:

Today I will begin a new feature taking a look at the best websites for the latest polling news, trends and data. I will start with

Pollingreport really is THE source for national political polling data. It has data for all the latest national polls on politics and policy. There are 2008 presidential race match-ups, Bush approval ratings, and polls on issues like the US Attorney controversy or illegal immigration. You have to go and search around to really see how much data is there.

The site takes each poll from national sources like Gallup, Zogby, Newsweek or Fox News and sorts them into the appropriate categories so you can find all questions on the same topic grouped together. If a question is asked by the same polling organization periodically, pollingreport lists all the data in order by date. That makes it a great source for research.

It also lists the exact wording for each question. PPP always checks how other pollsters are wording questions when we are drafting questionnaires.

Pollingreport has even more data from the state level as well as a bi-monthly newsletter with articles from an impressive list of contributors. Unfortunately, those services are only for paying subscribers.

More on the Civitas Poll

As I discussed yesterday the Civitas Poll came under fire yesterday from the Under the Dome blog. More on the blog fallout today. Max Borders from the Civitas Institute defends the poll.

The entire poll comes out tomorrow, but here are the three questions that Civitas released early...

Complete Questions

"Even though North Carolina will have a $1.1 billion budget surplus this year, the state House has continued $300 million in temporary taxes in order to increase spending over the $1.1 billion surplus. Do you approve or disapprove of this action?"
1. Approve ------------13%
2. Disapprove----------70%
3. Not Sure-------------17%

"The state is preparing to spend most of the $300 million in temporary taxes on more than 100 special interest projects, such as a drag racing hall of fame, a study of the horse industry in North Carolina and subsidizing a private culinary school. Do you support or oppose these expenditures?"
1. Support----------7%
2. Oppose---------84%
3. Not sure----------9%

"Some people say the extra $300 million in taxes will be used to increase funding for education. Others say the budget already has provided for education and these funds will actually be used for the type of pork barrel projects described above. Which do you believe?"
1. Used for education------------22%
2. Used for pork barrel----------59%
3. Not sure------------------------19%

METHODOLOGY: This study of 800 registered voters was conducted May 9-11, 2007 by TelOpinion Research of Alexandria, Va. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters who were interviewed had to have voted in the 2002 and 2004 general elections, as well as first time voters in the 2006 general election, and those who had voted in both 2004 and 2006 as newly registered voters.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that 95 percent of the time the results from 800 interviews (registered voters) will be within a +-3.7 percent of the "True Values".

Monday, May 14, 2007

N&O takes on the Civitas Poll

Ryan Teague Beckwith at the Under the Dome Blog takes the Civitas Institute to task for loaded question wording. It's hard to argue with him on this question:
"The state is preparing to spend most of the $300 million in temporary taxes on more than 100 special interest projects, such as a drag racing hall of fame, a study of the horse industry in North Carolina and subsidizing a private culinary school. Do you support or oppose these expenditures?"

Pollster Profile: The Kitchens Group

The Kitchens Group was the pollster for the Stop the NC Home Tax campaign, funded by the NC Association of Realtors. The Kitchens Group is run by pollster Jim Kitchens and is based in the Orlando, Florida area.

The Kitchens Group bills itself as an outside-the-beltway polling firm that does things differently. Jim Kitchens touts his “Four Pillars of the American Psyche” as a unique perspective into understanding and shaping public opinion. The four pillars (consumerism, fear, religiosity, and narcissism) might seem a bit cynical, but he claims it is very helpful in forming strategic decisions.

Most, if not all, of Kitchens’ political clients appear to be Democrats, including former NC House candidate Chris Mintz. He has also done a lot of work for environmental conservation groups around the country including the Land for Tomorrow Coalition in North Carolina.

Other clients include over 40 US Congressmen, Lowe’s, and Walt Disney World.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Favorite Son John Edwards

A few people have mentioned to me that they are surprised that John Edwards is leading the Democratic Primary race in North Carolina. Despite him being from North Carolina, they think he is down enough in national polls and has exhausted enough good will in the state that he should be trailing Hillary Clinton and/or Barack Obama.

I think that among Democrats Edwards has plenty of good will left in the state. From my point of view he has continually increased his standing in North Carolina since he announced he was running for President in 2003. Many Democrats I knew were skeptical of him then, but by the time of the 2004 Iowa Caucuses, they had gotten on the bandwagon.

At least Edwards is doing better in his home state than Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd. According to a Quinnipiac University Poll, Dodd is in fifth place in Connecticut with only 6% support. Ahead of him are Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Al Gore.

Compared to Dodd, Edwards’ North Carolina support looks robust.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Combining Polls March-May: CORRECTION

Thanks to an astute reader/math geek I've discovered a problem with the combined poll results that I wrote about on Tuesday. The problem only exists in the Democratic Gubernatorial race. In March we were still including Bill Faison in the poll, but I didn't account for that in the combination. That means that all the "undecideds" from March were not included in the Governor's race results.

I have redone the crosstabs, this time using completely unweighted results. Therefore, these crosstabs represent 1925 respondents from March until May.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ron Paul for President

His supporters are out there. Here is a question we got by email from a reader…

Why are you ignoring Ron Paul? He was there with the other nine on stage.

That’s a good question. We have had to leave out many candidates from our presidential tracking polls; five Democrats and up to eight Republicans. Mostly it was just an executive decision. The more candidates we add the longer the poll takes to complete and reduces our response rate. More choices also increase the chance of error in pressing the wrong button for the respondent. Most people are going to pick a top-tier candidate so we think it is better to make sure that count is accurate.

Additionally, the non top-tier candidates just don’t have enough support to merit their inclusion in the polls. One or two percent for each is not going to better inform us about the status of the race. The “other candidate” option in our latest poll, theoretically the support for all of those other candidates combined, was lower than the lowest performing named candidate.

On the Republican side it is also a matter of technology. With our IVR technology we can only have 10 response categories-- touch tones 0 through 9. But there are up to 12 Republican choices (Giuliani, F. Thompson, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, T. Thompson, Brownback, Huckabee, Trancedo, Paul, Hunter, and Gilmore) plus the undecided category.

Who's talking about the poll?

Here's a look at some other blogs discussing our latest tracking poll results

Coloradoans for Thompson
John Edwards Blog
NC Republican Roundtable
The Hedgehog Report

and a link to the WRAL news story with lively discussion in the comments. If you've have not before, check out the comments section on WRAL news stories. They are fascinating.

Tracking Bev Perdue vs. Richard Moore

Here is the tracking graph for the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary race. In the last 3 months Lt. Governor Bev Perdue's numbers have been very consistent, but Richard Moore's have been somewhat volatile. It's most important to remember that a plurality in all these polls are undecided, so there is a lot of room for movement.

This graph is a combination of all polls on this race including PPP and Civitas polls.

Using just PPP data the race looks a bit more fluid.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Combining Polls March-May

Last month I discussed the idea of combining polls. That is, adding results from identical polls together in order to get larger sample sizes for the benefit of better crosstabs. So I tried it by combining the results of the last three months of the Democratic primary tracking polls. In the end we have a survey with 1699 respondents. Let’s look at some of the crosstabs…


Edwards leads Clinton among women and has a strong lead amongst men. In the Governor's race, not surprisingly Bev Perdue has a big lead among women, and also has a slight lead with men.


Obama has a big lead in the black community, but not a majority. Bev Perdue has a 22 point lead among blacks—probably the reason she has a distinct lead over Richard Moore. She leads by only 4 points among whites.


Hillary Clinton leads among younger voters, but the other age categories are roughly even with Edwards on top. Richard Moore leads among the youngest voters.


Clinton does the best in the Charlotte area (704 area code) and Edwards is strongest in the west (828). Perdue has a distinct advantage in every region except the Triangle, where the two gubernatorial candidates are tied.

Update: When reading these charts be careful of the Base number. That represents the percentage over all three surveys, but it is only partially weighted. So it does not reflect the correct gender, race and age proportions.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Where did Thompson's support come from?

First, it is important to note that these survey results were taken before the Republican Presidential Debate on Thursday, so none of the debate’s impact (small as it may be) is reflected here.

My instant analysis is that there is a segment of Republican primary electorate, roughly a quarter to a third of the likely primary voters in North Carolina, which is unhappy with the top three candidates (Giuliani, McCain and Romney). Thompson is filling in as their alternative candidate right now.

We had Newt Gingrich in the poll in January, February and March and he was placing a strong second then, similar to how Thompson performs this month. Gingrich was the alternative then, as Thompson is now. In the April tracking poll, without Thompson or Gingrich, you can see below that the “someone else” and undecided categories were extremely high.

As you can see most of Thompson’s support came from the “someone else” and undecided categories. McCain did lose 3% and Romney lost 1%, but Giuliani gained 2%.

Candidate ---- May ---- April Results

Giuliani ------ 32% ----- 30%
Thompson --- 25% ----- n/a
McCain ------ 16% ----- 19%
Romney ------ 13% ---- 14%
Someone else - 13% ---- 25%
Undecided ---- 3% ----- 13%

Fred Thompson makes a splash in NC primary poll

According to our latest survey prospective Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson would make a good showing in the North Carolina Republican primary. We included Thompson for the first time in our monthly primary tracking poll. Click here for complete results. Continue reading for the shorthand version:

Republican President

Giuliani 32%
Thompson 25%
McCain 16%
Romney 13%
Different candidate 13%

Democratic President

Edwards 33%
Clinton 27%
Obama 20%

I also found it interesting that now 48% of Democratic primary voters in North Carolina pick the War in Iraq as the most important issue. That’s up from 41% last month. More results:

Democratic Governor

Perdue 35%
Moore 29%

Republican Governor

Graham 21%
Orr 13%
Smith 9%

Democratic Lt. Governor

Dalton 10%
Smathers 10%
Besse 9%
Dellinger 9%

Bush approval at an all-time low

According to the latest Newsweek poll President Bush’s approval rating has fallen to 28%, the lowest score for a president since Jimmy Carter in 1979. That is the second poll I’ve seen lately with Bush’s approval under 30%. I’m really interested in seeing Bush approval in North Carolina right now. Has he fallen to an all-time North Carolina low too? We’ll have to wait for the Civitas poll and maybe PPP will do a similar poll this month too.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Wake County Schools: Bond in 2007?

In light of yesterday’s ruling by Superior Court Judge Howard Manning against mandatory year-round schools in Wake County I thought I would remind everyone of a poll we took back in January (PDF).

If Wake County cannot ease its school overcrowding problems with year-round schools the School Board and County Commissioners might be pressured to put another bond referendum on the ballot this year. Wake County approved a $970 million bond just last year.

In January we asked Wake County voters if they would be willing to vote for another billion dollar school bond in 2007. The results show that such a bond would fail miserably, 26%-68%. Of course, that was less than 3 months after the last bond referendum, and in response to Judge Manning’s decision the school crisis might make people more willing to support another bond this.

The conclusion from our January poll was that voters wanted to wait until at least 2008 for another bond.

Rudy Giuliani won?

According to a Survey USA poll of California voters last night only 13% of respondents watched the Republican Presidential debate. Among those respondents 30% thought Rudy Giuliani won the debate. The next closest candidate was Mitt Romney with 12%. This survey was not just of Republicans but all California voters who watched the debate.

We finished the our latest primary tracking polls yesterday, but before the Republican debate began. So our Republican poll numbers will not reflect any changes caused by the debate. But if only 13% of Californians watched, then I doubt the debate will have much impact on North Carolina Republican voters.

Check back to see the results on Monday.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dorothea Dix Park

In late March, PPP conducted a poll for the Friends of Dorothea Dix Park. The results were released today. Here is the press release:
North Carolinians Support a Destination Park on Dix Campus

RALEIGH, N.C. – Friends of Dorothea Dix Park announced today that a statewide poll conducted on March 20, 2007 by Public Policy Polling revealed that nearly 60 percent of all North Carolinians polled support a world-class, 306-acre destination park created on the Dorothea Dix campus when the hospital closes.

“This poll reveals exactly what we have been hearing from people all across the state,” said Jay Spain, president of Friends of Dorothea Dix Park. “The majority of North Carolinians want all of the 306 acres on Dix property used for a world-class destination park.”

In a second question, North Carolina respondents were given three choices: preserve all the land for a park, or development and a smaller park; or all development. Fifty-two percent said all park; 26 percent said a smaller park and development, 8 percent said all development, and 14 percent said they don’t know.

These results were similar regardless of gender, race or political affiliation. Other details from the poll include:
  • Two polls were conducted on March 20, 2007:
    • A statewide poll of 412 registered North Carolina voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.8
    • A poll of 410 Wake County registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.9
  • In Wake County, the results were even stronger. Sixty-five percent of Wake County voters polled said that they support a world-class, 306-acre destination park for the Dorothea Dix campus.
  • In response to the three choices of how to use the land, 57 percent of Wake County respondents said all park; 26 percent said a smaller park and development, 7 percent said all development, and 9 percent said they don’t know.
“The success and constant demand we’ve seen from the DIX306 yard sign campaign mirror these poll results,” said Bill Padgett, member of DIX306. “We would like to add our voices to the voices of the children of tomorrow and thank our fellow North Carolinians from the mountains to the shore for their support of creating this world-class destination park.

The North Carolina General Assembly will ultimately decide the fate of the 306 acres.

Friends of Dorothea Dix Park (FDDP), founded in 2004, is a 501(c)3 organization made up of thousands of individuals and more than 30 member organizations whose mission is to preserve the Dorothea Dix Campus as a world-class destination park. FDDP is dedicated to educating people across North Carolina about the value of preserving the land as a destination park and why it is the right thing to do for our children, our economic stability and our overall quality of life. For more information about FDDP, its people, plans and vision, please visit

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton and North Carolina

In my last post I hinted at the fact that Hillary Clinton’s polling guru, Mark Penn, liked being in the limelight. I should have noticed the Washington Post profile of Penn printed just the day before!

It’s a pretty fascinating look at a major polling luminary and the Clinton presidential campaign. The profile has created a lot of buzz in Democratic blogging circles here, here, here, here, and here, as well as on

What does this have to do with North Carolina? Not much, except for this quote from Penn describing Hillary Clinton’s prospects in 2008:
"When you look at this thing nationally -- how is she going to win -- I think it's really important to look at what were the two groups that defected from the Democrats in 2004 to give it to Bush," Penn said. "And those were women and Latino voters. And almost all the change in that election from 2000 was among those two groups, and those are her two strongest groups. And I think that's some of the reason you see her doing so well in places like Ohio and Florida -- because I think those are both states that she could take."

And then, he said, "you won't have to go any further on the map.
As a Democrat in North Carolina that quote disturbs me. Does this mean that Hillary Clinton is going to campaign in only the states John Kerry won, plus Ohio and Florida? That might get her into the White House, but it would do nothing to help Democrats in North Carolina. No wonder lots of Democrats are worried about our 2008 chances if she is the Democratic nominee.

The political winds still seem to be blowing against the Republicans. Democrats are hopeful for 2008 gains. No help from the national nominee might erase those chances.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pollster Profile: Jan van Lohuizen

Dr. Jan van Lohuizen conducted polling for Senator Elizabeth Dole earlier this year. You may remember our discussion of her approval numbers.

Van Lohuizen is best known as President Bush’s personal pollster. He is based in Houston, Texas and has worked with Bush and Karl Rove since 1991. Van Lohuizen’s polling company, Voter Consumer Research, has worked for numerous Republicans and major corporations such as Wal-Mart, Qwest, Anheuser-Busch, and Microsoft. Van Lohuizen is currently working for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

This entry is going to be pretty short because Van Lohuizen is also known for being very low profile. He doesn’t do many interviews, nor does he seek out the limelight like other presidential pollsters. But here is a good article from the Washington Monthly that provides some insight into Van Lohuizen and Bush’s relationship.
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