Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bill Clinton's North Carolina Stops

Bill Clinton's coming back to North Carolina again this week, and once again he's largely eschewing the city's urban centers. Last week he went to places like Pembroke, Laurinburg, and Monroe. Now he's headed to Roanoke Rapids, Wilson, Goldsboro, Kinston, and other points east.

The thinking of the campaign is that his appearances will create a buzz in places that aren't used to seeing a President. But our recent polling also shows that the places he's going are the most potentially fertile territory for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina.

Barack Obama is dominating among voters who describe themselves as living in cities in the state. A poll we conducted last week showed him leading by 32 points with that group. The race is much closer with folks who live in rural areas or small towns. Voters who said they reside in rural areas support Obama by just six points, while those living in small towns give him an 18 point advantage.

Rural areas and small towns also have the most voters who haven't made up their minds yet for the Presidential primary. 25% of rural voters are undecided and 17% of those in small towns are.

If Hillary Clinton is going to have any chance of winning North Carolina she's going to need to get those undecideds in her camp and generate significant turnout in the counties where I-40 and I-85 do not pass through. Sending Bill around to those places helps generate momentum for her, and while the odds of Hillary taking NC are not good, their strategy for deploying Bill is an intelligent one.

Thanks to Ferrel Guillory at UNC for the post idea.

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