Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Same ol' on NC Senate

Richard Burr has mediocre approval numbers but leads all of his anonymous Democratic opponents. Sound familiar? Not much is changing in the North Carolina Senate race on a month to month basis, and it's unlikely that much will until the Democratic candidates start running tv ads.

NC voters are evenly divided on Burr this time around with 35% approving of him and 35% unhappy with his performance. He leads Elaine Marshall 43-33, Cal Cunningham 44-32, and Kenneth Lewis 44-31.

Those early leads over the Democrats have a lot to do with how anonymous each of them is. Even Marshall has only 29% name recognition, and Kenneth Lewis and Cal Cunningham are even more obscure at this juncture with 17% and 15% of voters with an opinion about each of them respectively.

Marshall and Cunningham actually both lead Burr with those few voters that know who they are, suggesting a race that could become more competitive once Democrats have a nominee. That's exactly what happened in 2008 when Kay Hagan went from trailing by double digits in the polls over the winter to toss up status by May after she had introduced herself to voters during her primary campaign.

Of course 2010 is a completely different animal than 2008. Voters may be even angrier at the Democrats now than they were at the Republicans then. And Barack Obama won't be at the top of the ticket to drive turnout from key Democratic constituencies. Those factors both work to Burr's advantage.

But Burr has still only defined himself positively with a third of the voters, and with Louisiana Senator David Vitter now posting 20+ point leads against his Democratic opponent in some polling there's not much doubt Burr is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent running for reelection this year. That virtually ensures there will be a lot of outside money spent to aid the eventual Democratic nominee just as there was last time around.

Burr could lose this race but he could also keep his current double digit lead all the way through November- it's really hard to say at this point how it's going to shake out.

Full results here


Brandon K said...

What was that new "wrinkle" you were talking about?

Anonymous said...

No primary horse-race poll? If only to show how terrible Civitas polling is?

Anonymous said...

Amazing how little changed this race is! rates this as the 16th most competitive Senate race in the US; lots of vulnerable Dems, open seats which will be hotly-contested and draw large dollars as things are now.

A year ago your poll ( showed Burr's favorables only moderately higher. Jim Neal's name recognition was nearly 2x that of Marshall and 3x Lewis' and Cunningham's (which has actually fallen!) The four candidates would be in a statistical dead-heat v. Burr. He's got a pot of cash and the Dem nominee is going to need a lot of money.

Not unusual that of those who recognize Lewis/Marshall/Cunningham most would favor over Burr- of course so!? With their low recognition the only people who'd recognize are Democrats.

Lastly why did you exclude Marcus Williams from your poll? He ran in '08 and pulled around 14% of the vote. He'll chip away at the others again.

Independent Democrat

Timothy said...

Burr will win...unless he decides to be "bi-partisan" with the democrats.

Unknown said...

Save your money. Don't poll NC until the summer. Splurge on the Northeast. Big media market has potential to break news using your polls.

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