Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Assessing the Runoffs

Based on our most recent polls, if the undecideds were distributed in the same proportion as current candidate support we would only have three statewide runoffs in North Carolina this year.

One would be in the Democratic race for Labor Commissioner. Distributing the undecideds would give John Brooks 27%, Mary Fant Donnan 27%, Ty Richardson 24%, and Robin Anderson 22%. These candidates are all pretty evenly matched and no one is anywhere close to 40%. I expect this race really will see a runoff.

Another is the Republican race for Lieutenant Governor. Right now Greg Dority would have 37%, Robert Pittenger would have 33%, Jim Snyder would have 20%, and Tim Cook would have 11%. I do not expect to see a runoff in this race. Pittenger is well funded but has held back on his money so far. Once he starts spending it he figures to earn a victory with over 40%.

The third is the Democratic contest for Lieutenant Governor. Based on our poll last week Walter Dalton would be at 33%, Dan Besse at 23%, Pat Smathers at 23%, and Hampton Dellinger at 20%. I imagine that once the candidates start really spending their money in this race we'll see some separation but this one is probably headed for a runoff as well.

There are three other races where distributing the undecideds would put the current leader just over 40%. I think two of those are real runoff possibilities.

In the Democratic Treasurer's race, Janet Cowell would be at 43% followed by David Young at 37%, and Michael Weisel at 20%. Weisel has lagged behind in all of our polling, but he does have a considerable war chest. If he turns it into more of a three way tie, it could head to a runoff. Of course in her senate campaign four years ago many folks thought Cowell was headed for one and she pulled off quite an impressive performance with around 50% of the vote.

In the Democratic Senate race Kay Hagan is projecting to 45% followed by Jim Neal at 26%, Marcus Williams at 14%, Duskin Lassiter at 10%, and Howard Staley at 5%. The 19 point margin between Hagan and Neal seems about right to me, especially if Hagan does a pretty strong media buy and Neal doesn't. I don't think Williams, Lassiter, and Staley will really end up combining for 29% of the vote, and my guess is Hagan ends up somewhere in the 50-60 range while Neal finishes somewhere in the 30-40 range.

Finally there is the Republican race for Superintendent. Right now Richard Morgan would have 45%, followed by Eric Smith with 29% and Joe Johnson at 26%. I imagine Morgan will win without a runoff- unless the Pope machine decides to bring him down. A negative independent expenditure would certainly be a new thing for a Superintendent primary but those folks sure don't like Morgan.

We will have at least a bit of a statewide election on June 24th, but right now it doesn't look like the ballot will be very full.


Anonymous said...

Today's profile in the Charlotte and Raleigh papers of Dority was absolutely damning...the nicest thing you could take out of it is he is a fraud.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in knowing how many people you typically poll to come up with your projections. Your methodology seems good, but numbers matter too.

Jim Neal is running an aggressive campaign and Kay Hagan is practically invisible. One assumes she is the "establishment" candidate and may be well known in her district, but the big spread between her and Neal is surprising.

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous to assume -- without any TV or other communication to date -- that undecideds will break along current vote. This is an interesting tool to use much closer to Election Day...not at this point! You are gaining a good reputation, but this really is irresponsible.

Tom Jensen said...

I think my analysis made it clear that in races like the Dem Senate race and the LG race on both sides that the candidates with money would rise to the top. Sign your name if you want to call me irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Touchy touchy aren't we.

If you don't want anonymous posts, don't offer that as an option.

Don't try to negate the quality or logic of my argument because I don't want to make it publicly.

Maybe you shouldn't offer analysis in races where PPP principals have made contributions to candidates in those races.

As I said, PPP is gaining a generally solid reputation.

Newsies and candidates take notice of what you say...and candidates use what you say for their benefit.

That's not a surprise or necessarily wrong.

But, whether you admit it or not, your making public an analysis extrapolating numbers which are based primarily on name ID -- and on numbers you admit will be altered by implementation of candidate communication plans -- is irresponsible.

Taking head to head numbers for races that are statistically within the margin of error and trying to extrapolate out how undecideds will go -- and thus pronouncing which races will or will not go to a run-off -- is irresponsible.

Sorry. But you messed up on this one.

Tom Jensen said...

Yes, except I provided my own analysis of whether the races might head to runoffs independent of the undecided distributions. The numbers were an interesting part of the post but were not the sole basis for my discussion of which races might and might not head for runoffs. E.G. I think the Republican LG race is much less likely to go to a runoff than the Democratic Treasurer or Republican Superintendent race regardless of the current extrapolations.

Anyway, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Perhaps I should have given more of a disclaimer that the election is a long way off and these numbers are very preliminary. But it's still interesting.

Anonymous said...

Intersting, indeed!

Web Statistics