McCrory Wins Big on Election Night

Gubernatorial Campaign Building Momentum for Republican Ticket 

Many Democrats rode the momentum of Barack Obama in 2008 built upon a mainstream message and grassroots organization.   Four years later, the tide has turned to a Republican advantage led by Pat McCrory and a one-sided campaign message about fixing North Carolina’s economy.

The most recent Strategic Insights Survey of 1,000 North Carolina general election voters shows McCrory outpacing Lt. Governor Walter Dalton 52% to 39.1%.  Libertarian Barbara Howe is pulling 3.8% of the vote and 5.2% remain undecided.  Unaffiliated voters are the largest group of undecided voters at 8.1%, followed by Democrats at 6.7% and just .6% of Republicans saying they are undecided.

Most likely on Election Day the final vote tally will break 55% for McCrory, 43% for Dalton and 2% for Howe.

McCrory’s strength will benefit other Republican candidates because of his ballot strength with Unaffiliated voters.  McCrory is winning this group of voters 52.6% to 30.9% over Dalton and 8.4% are supporting Howe.  Unaffiliated voters like Pat McCrory and they have little definition of the other candidates outside of the Presidential race.  McCrory is creating a very favorable environment for Republican gains in 2012.

Another factor that will complicate the vote for other Democratic candidates is the conservative Democratic voter who votes Republican.  Excluding the Gubernatorial contest, the GOP vote average for Democratic candidates in all races we polled in this survey is 5.1% of that Party’s vote.  The Democratic vote average for Republican candidates in the survey is 15.8% of that Party’s vote.  Based upon current registration numbers, if both parties vote at equal levels, the registered partisan vote breaks 51% Democratic to 49% Republican.

Now factor in the Unaffiliated voter.  Unaffiliated voters are 26% of North Carolina registered voters.  For every 4-point advantage they give to one Party that equals a 1-point vote gain statewide.  Currently, Unaffiliated voters are giving a 21.7% advantage to McCrory and a 9.2% point advantage to Romney.  The Republican advantage with the Unaffiliated voter averages 12.3% in all the races we polled, excluding the Gubernatorial contest.

Based upon voting trends by Parties and Unaffiliated voters preferences, here are the likely Republican winners on Election Day.

Mitt Romney carries North Carolina in a close contest that is very much a reflection of what North Carolina voters can expect to see in the future as the state continues to be competitive for both Parties.

Pat McCrory wins, giving a big boost to other Republican candidates.

Advantage Dan Forest in the Lt. Governor’s race.  Forest is garnering 16.4% of the Democratic vote and winning Unaffiliated voters by a 15.5% point margin.   Coleman is getting only 3.8% of the Republican vote.

Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler easily wins reelection, currently pulling 21.7% of the Democratic vote, 90.8% of the GOP vote and winning Unaffiliated voters by a 29.3% margin.

Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry tracks similar numbers and easily wins as well.  Commissioner Berry is getting 20.3% of the Democratic vote, 87.8% of the Republican vote and winning Unaffiliated voters by a 26.5% margin.

Races to watch:

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin leads Republican Mike Causey 42.5% to 41.2%.  Causey is winning 12.3% of the Democratic vote and winning Unaffiliated voters 39.3% to 33.0%.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall leads 46.6% to 42% over Republican Ed Goodwin.  Goodwin is getting 12% of the Democratic vote while winning Unaffiliated voters by 2.8%, 40.2% to 37.4%.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell has just launched a new ad attacking Republican Steve Royal.  Cowell is locked in a tight race at 43.2% to 41.7% for Royal.  Royal is pulling 12.1% of Democratic voters while Cowell is pulling 6.8% of the Republican vote.  Royal is leading among Unaffiliated voters, 41.2% to 33.6%, for a 7.6% advantage.

Overall, turnout is going to be critical to all candidates in down ballot races.  If the advantage goes to the Democratic Party, then their candidates who are locked in tight races will benefit most.  If the Republican vote is greater, then the advantage should fall to the down ballot Republican candidates.

For a complete set of the survey crosstabs and topline summary, click the links at the top of the page.

About the Strategic Insights Survey

The Strategic Insights Survey is a survey of 1000 North Carolina voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.16%.  The survey is the project of Strategic Partners Solutions and is conducted by Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart, two well-known Republican consultants to numerous state and federal candidates. This survey was conducted on October 28-29, 2012 through an automated phone system.  Phone surveys are a snapshot of voters’ opinions and are subject to other factors that may influence the margin of error not present in personal interviews surveys.  However, they are an effective measure of public opinion and provide valuable insight into the opinions of all voters.

The Strategic Insights Survey is designed to provide insight into the opinions of voters on federal, state and local issues facing North Carolina.  The surveys are conducted by an automated phone system using a random sample generated by a file of North Carolina voters.   The survey is a snapshot of voters’ opinion on the key issues of the day.  It is important to remember that public opinion is fluid and is subject to change over time.  Polls are not predictors of the future.  They are a reflection of opinion based upon the current set of information available in the public arena at a given point in time.