Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burr v. Cunningham and Neal

PPP's newest survey finds Richard Burr polling under the magic 50% mark against two Democrats with virtually no positive statewide name recognition.

He is up 44-30 against former US Senate candidate Jim Neal and 46-27 against former state Senator Cal Cunningham.

Burr isn't exceeding 50% against these guys even though Neal is only viewed favorably by 15% of North Carolina voters and Cunningham by just 10%.

Burr's approval rating actually has hit its highest level in a PPP survey, with 41% of voters approving of his performance compared t0 34% who disapprove. A month ago it was 33/30. His improvement on that front has largely come from playing to the base: in January only 54% of Republicans reported approving of the job he was doing and that number is now up to 70% after a period where he was very visible in opposing the economic stimulus package that most Republican voters share an opposition to. His net approval among Democrats has actually worsened over the last month, going from 18/40 (-22) to 21/52 (-31). He's remained pretty steady with independents, going from +7 last month to +8 this time.

Neal and Cunningham don't appear to stand a chance of even getting out of the primary if one of the better known potential Democratic candidates like Roy Cooper or Heath Shuler ends up making the race. Even among Democrats only 26% have a favorable opinion of Neal and just 18% have a positive view of Cunningham.

Finally, every time we do one of these polls on Burr it seems relevant to compare his standing to where Elizabeth Dole was at this time two years ago. In February 2007 PPP found Dole with a 43/31 approval rating, a net five points better than where Burr stands today. That poll also found her winning a hypothetical match up against Bob Etheridge, a stronger potential candidate than the two we tested against Burr this month, by a comparable 45-30 margin. Burr continues to be in a weaker position politically than the defeated Dole was at the same time in the last election cycle.

Previously PPP found Cooper leading Burr 39-34, and Burr leading Shuler 39-28.

Full results here.


Anonymous said...

Any poll taken this far out can't be based on much more than name recognition. Seeing as Neal has never run a TV ad, I'd say his chances aren't too shabby. Also, his strength lies in the urban areas, which seem underrepresented in this survey. Reminder--Neal and Hagan were virtually tied until around 30 days out, when money found its way into Hagan's pockets, and ads hit the airwaves. It's way too early to count Jim Neal out--that is, as long as Zeno Ponder isn't the one giving the surveys.

And come on, Shuler? Everyone knows that hiding behind that perfectly bronzed, sculpted physique and cunning smile of an NFL quarterback lies, well, just an NFL quarterback. That blue-dog don't hunt.

Anonymous said...

Only difference between Dole and Richard Burr is that, he is very fast to adapt and in the last 2 months he has been really doing good. Shuler will run neck to neck with Burr. It looks like Shuler has the support of clintons but, I am not sure, whether he has the progressives support.

Will Shuler peel of conservative democrats from Burr? Or Will shuler loose the support of progressive democrats? That might be the difference in who wins the race.

Regarding approval rate, I have a feeling that, the conservatives are coming together after Obama's stimulus package. It might trounce any opponent. I will say, he wins by 5% margin

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