Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How possible challengers to Burr stack up

PPP looked at seven potential challengers to Richard Burr last week and found the incumbent leading them all by varying degrees:

-He has an 11 point advantage over Elizabeth Edwards (46-35) and Dan Blue (44-33)
-He has a 13 point lead over Richard Moore (47-34)
-He has a 16 point edge on Bob Etheridge (47-31) and Heath Shuler (44-28)
-He has a 19 point margin over Walter Dalton (48-29)

We also tested Cal Cunningham, providing a two sentence biography of him as part of the question to compensate for his low name recognition, and found him trailing by just eight points (42-34). That's an important reminder that having a good story to tell is more important for potential challengers to Burr than initial name id, a lesson that was learned well in the laborious Democratic recruitment saga of 2008 that ended up with a winner in Kay Hagan.

This is also an appropriate spot for a reminder that when we tested Mike McIntyre against Burr last month he trailed by just five points.

All of these potential candidates hold Burr under the 50% mark generally considered safe for an incumbent.

There is some good news for Burr in the numbers. He holds at least a double digit lead among independents in every one of the potential match ups, continuing a trend PPP is finding with those voters across the country that may indicate some folks will be voting for divided government next year to keep Democrats from consolidating too much power.

Pulling together all the information we have, here's the state of the race: when Roy Cooper decided not to run Democrats lost the only candidate who would have made this an instant tossup. But Richard Burr is still in a vulnerable position pretty comparable to where Elizabeth Dole found herself at this time two years ago. But whoever the Democratic standard bearer ends up being will have to be molded into a formidable candidate, as Hagan was, rather than just inherently starting out as one. Now Democrats are going to have to make a choice- do they get a Shuler or McIntyre who have big bank accounts and a good position from which to raise more or do they go more towards a Cunningham who might need more help raising money but can run as an outsider in an election cycle where not having any Washington taint could be a very good thing? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Full results here.


Anonymous said...

Trailing by a mere 8 points is not bad for a possible challenger with low name recogition and a good and meaningful story. However, I envision an 8-10 point lead.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Tom, do you think Shuler or any of the others would have closed the gap with their own bios? I have a feeling some of them are still not so well known to voters across the state. Even Etheridge hasn't been in statewide office for some time, so there are younger demographics and those who couldn't name anyone but the governor who might not know what he's done. 30-50% of people had no opinion on most of the candidates.

Unknown said...

The favorability numbers also seem pretty interesting too. Cunningham, Moore, and Etheridge are the only ones with positive favorability, Shuler breaks even, and Blue and Dalton are in the negative.

Anonymous said...

Why not test Burr v. Jim Neal? He *was* a candidate for Senate, and ran neck and neck with Hagen - despite Chuck Schumer's determined efforts to shut him out of Dem funding - until she spent millions on TV in the last 3 weeks. He's proven his grassroots shoe leather appeal all throughout the state. He has remained actively involved in NC political advocacy. He's young and could easily run again. Don't know if he'd want to, but ignoring his potential candidacy in a poll like this makes no sense.

Brandon said...

To be perfectly honest, I was a little surprised to see Burr leading all of these possible challengers by a minimum of 11 points. I understand that he's far from being in the strongest position for reelection, but for someone with low favorable numbers, and for someone who is "allegedly" so unpopular, I think an 11 point lead over your closest opponent is pretty decent. Granted the election is still 16 months away, so absolutely anything can happen. But don't you think these poll results put Burr in a bit more comfortable of a position than so many have speculated. Sure, he's vulnerable, but maybe a little less so than originally thought.

Anonymous said...

To answer you Brandon, if I were Burr, I would not feel the least bit comfortable knowing that I have been around for awhile and only only eight points separate me and my closest possible challenger--Cal Cunningham. And, as time goes on, the margin will become even closer as the voters learn more about the possible challengers and their platforms.

Anonymous said...

PPP seems to have a relationship with Cunningham that they haven't revealed. His "story" is of a trust-fund baby who has spent his entire adulthood attempting to get elected to something, whether it be class president or state senator or judge. He was associated with cheating in the chapel hill race and voter fraud in the senate race. He made such an ass of himself in the senate that senate democrats booted him out with redistricting after one term. He failed to perform even one point better than the prior democrat despite being provided a ten-to-one money advantage by senate democrats in his race for the open seat. There must be at least fifty democrats who would run better for U.S. senate.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: I think it is safe to assume that you are not a Cunningham fan and perhaps not a Democrat? Nonetheless, I respect your opinion.

It sounds like you were the bitter opponent in your description of activities, for which you make these accusations? Another attempt of fear mongering…typical of the "Right"…Burrrrrrrrrr!

You seem adamant about revealing Cunningham’s identity...yet you hide behind the label of ANONYMOUS…Wow, that’s amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

Connie, I noticed you didn't refute any of the facts. I also noticed that you seem a little bit protective of Mr. Cunningham, maybe his campaign manager? I don't think accusing me of being a Repug is going to get your candidate any further down the road with those of us who want a viable, credible candidate with a winning track record. Sorry your boss is a bad egg. Maybe in the interest of credibility and fairness PPP will include a "bio" on some of the other candidates next time they poll. Do I have personal knowledge of Cunningham's bad habits? Sure. And that is precisely why I will never support him in a primary or against a moderate Republican (Burr is out of luck). PS: I noticed your last name wasn't published. If you aren't an insider, then how'd you know there was a post published two weeks after the original post?

Anonymous said...

You are too funny. I am not going to play your little game. Oh, and by the way, I never called you a Repug?? What I said was that perhaps, you're not a Democrat. I also said that fear mongering was typical of the "Right"...Burrrrr! Good night!!


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