For the past several years Elon University has put itself on the state and national map with its regular polling on everything from politics to social issues. The Elon Poll has become so successful, in fact, that others are offering the sincerest form of flattery by imitating it. High Point University is the latest case in point.
But Elon has its ground pretty well staked, marked and fenced.
It took another big step last Monday at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. During a Labor Day media event the latest poll concerning the presidential and gubernatorial races in North Carolina was released and a pretty seriously famous panel of experts analyzed the numbers for the media herd looking for something to do in Charlotte before the big informercial started on Tuesday. Among the panel of luminaries were David Gergen, the former political adviser for presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton and a pundit for CNN, Domenico Montanaro of NBC and Charlie Cook of the National Journal. The panel and poll got great buzz on cable news outlets throughout the slow holiday news day.
The presidential polling itself held few surprises, at least I didn’t think so. Republican Mitt Romney holds a four-point lead (47 percent to 43 percent) over President Obama. Six percent are undecided.
The poll found that 6 percent of state voters are undecided about the presidential race. I don’t meet many people who fall into that category. In fact, it seems that most had their minds made up months ago.
The one thing said by the panel members that got my attention was this from Montanaro: “When they stop spending money here, we’ll stop saying (North Carolina) is a swing state.”
According to Charlie Cook, of the so-called 11 swing states, North Carolina is the only one where Romney has a measurable lead. He called North Carolina a must-win state for Romney.
Well, duh. Like McCain in 2008, a Republican presidential candidate who loses North Carolina likely has major problems across the nation. It’ll be a blowout for Obama if he takes North Carolina again, just like it was four years ago.
For Obama to duplicate his surprising 2008 success in North Carolina, Democrats will have to get out the vote just like they did four years ago.
In the governor’s race, Democrat Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton is in serious trouble. While a high number (11 percent) of state voters are undecided in the race between Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory, there is a 15 percentage point spread between the two (52 percent to 37 percent). By that reckoning, if Dalton got every single undecided vote he would still be four points short and also remain outside the 3 percent point margin of error in the poll.
Elon didn’t run Council of State numbers but logically if Dalton is running so poorly, then other Democrats probably face an uphill climb, too.