Saturday, May 3, 2008

Misconceptions about runoffs

Folks still seem to think there are going to be runoffs in the Republican races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. They're not looking at the numbers carefully enough- it's not going to happen.

For there to be a runoff in the race for Governor, Bill Graham, Bob Orr, and Elbie Powers would have to combine for at least 22% of the vote and Fred Smith and Pat McCrory would have to tie at 39% each.

Let's look at the polls:

-SurveyUSA earlier this week showed McCrory and Smith combining for 68%, Orr and Graham combining for 12%, and 20% undecided. For Graham and Orr to combine for 22% they would have to get the votes of 50% of the undecideds. Why would they they get 50% of the undecideds when they currently are receiving the votes of only 15% of those who have made up their minds, and when they don't have the resources for final efforts to turn out their voters?

I would be absolutely shocked if there is a runoff, and the reporters and pundits who keep discussing it not just as a possibility, but as a probability aren't paying close enough attention.

Of course I will eat my words if I turn out to be wrong.

Discussing the WRAL Republican Lieutenant Governor poll, a local professor said earlier this week, 'you're probably looking at a runoff on both sides.'

In that poll Robert Pittenger had 25% with the other candidates at 9, 8, and 8 percent respectively. Going from there Pittenger, the only person running with any money, would need just 30% of the undecideds to avoid a runoff when he currently has the votes of 50% of those who have made up their minds. No logical analysis of that poll would lead you to conclude a runoff is likely.

I'll go ahead and tease on Monday's tracking poll- even with 45% or so still undecided in the Republican LG race Pittenger is polling at about 35% so far this weekend. In other words he is getting almost twice as much support as his three opponents combined. No way is a runoff in the future in that race.

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