Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NC 8: Hayes continues small lead

Robin Hayes 44 Larry Kissell 39

There has been virtually no movement in the 8th District Congressional race since July, when PPP found Hayes leading by six points.

Kissell, despite a tv advertising campaign, is still mostly undefined with the electorate of the district. 28% of voters view him favorably, 23% view him unfavorably, and 49% still have no opinion.

Even when it comes to the job performance of Hayes, a ten year incumbent, there's a high level of ambiguity. 38% approve of him, 31% disapprove, and 30% have no opinion.

Here's the good news for Kissell in the poll:

-59% of the undecideds are Democrats while just 13% are Republicans. If he can ensure that his partisans vote the entire ballot and not just for the marquee offices, he'll be in much better shape. Taking it a step further, 40% of the undecideds are African Americans who tend to actually vote much more Democratic than registered white Democrats who often cross over to support Republicans in some races, especially for federal offices.

Here's the good news for Hayes in the poll:

-He's getting the support of almost 20% of Democrats in the poll, something he'll need to win reelection in this district where party identification overwhelmingly favors the opposing party. He's also got nearly unanimous support from his fellow Republicans, and a 43-27 advantage with independent voters in the district.

This contest looks like it will be close again as it was in 2006. Kissell just needs to do a better job of shoring up support from his party's base voters and the contest virtually becomes a tie.

Who wins this seat may eventually come down not so much to anything having to do with Robin Hayes or Larry Kissell, but just how much Barack Obama is able to increase turnout in heavily black Charlotte precincts.

Note: Thomas Hill, former Libertarian candidate, was included in this poll and received 4%. I think you can safely consider those who expressed support for him to be in the undecided category with him out of the race.

Full results here.

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