Thursday, October 29, 2009

The McCrory Effect

Charlotte's a Democratic city but John Lassiter is hanging in there and one person he really owes for that is Pat McCrory.

Last year George W. Bush was an anchor on Republican candidates across the country as he left office but McCrory's continuing popularity seems to be helping Lassiter secure the crossover support from Democrats and independents that he needs to be competitive. McCrory's approval rating is 60%. For the occasional grumbling from the right over the years he has the support of 85% of Republicans. His 69% approval with independents is one of the best we've measured for any politician in the country this year and even Democrats are pretty evenly divided with 37% giving him good marks to 44% disapproving.

Let's put Lassiter's Democratic support in perspective- only 14% are voting for him but that's still a lot better than the 6% of Republicans Foxx is getting. 80% of the Democrats who support Lassiter approve of the job McCrory's doing. That speaks to the fact that McCrory has shown a moderate Republican can be a reasonable Mayor, even across party lines, and there is at least some segment of the Democratic electorate that's content to keep on that way.

79% of the independents who think McCrory's doing a good job are voting for Lassiter. Only 42% of the rest are. It's safe to say Lassiter's 20 point lead with that group would be considerably more narrow if not for McCrory's popularity with them.

Let me put it simply: if Pat McCrory's approval rating was only 50%, still well above average for politicians these days and particularly in North Carolina, this race would be over. The only question would be Foxx's winning margin. But with him at 60%, this contest is a dog fight. In this tossup there's not much doubt Pat McCrory is John Lassiter's best friend.

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