Elon Poll: Democrats advance, Republicans still hold slight edge among N.C. voters

graphby Andie Diemer
Oct. 28, 2008

The Elon Poll has been working feverishly for more than a year to track closely voter’s opinions for next week’s election. Despite the ups and downs of campaigning, the Republican Party has been the favorite of North Carolina residents.

April 2008 Findings

In a poll conducted April 14-17 of 543 North Carolina residents, a majority said some factors heavily discussed in this presidential race, such as race, gender and age, had little impact on how they planned to vote.

Ninety-one percent said race does not make a difference in how they will vote, while 79 percent said gender makes no difference. Only 66 percent said they don’t factor age into voting for a particular candidate.

After being asked if they knew someone who wouldn’t vote for a candidate based on this set of criteria, the statistics began to fluctuate. Fifty-four percent said they knew someone who would not vote for a candidate who is black, and 63 percent said the same for a candidate who is a woman. Forty-four percent said the same for a candidate who is “too old.”

“Across the board, these results illustrate just how close the races appear to be,” Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement issued April 18. “With both Democrats and Republicans evaluated similarly, it appears there will be fierce battles for president and governor in this state.”

September 2008 Findings

In another Elon Poll, conducted Sept. 15-18, a majority of the 411 North Carolinians questioned said the GOP held the edge in the presidential race. But more than half of the respondents said they were ready to have Dole replaced.

At this time, more than half of North Carolina residents polled had a favorable view of McCain. Forty-one percent planned to support the Republican Party on Nov. 4, compared to 35 percent in favor of the Democratic Party. Twenty percent of the respondents remained undecided. Two-thirds of those surveyed said vice presidential running mates had some influence in their opinion of the candidates.

The governor’s race also remained close, with 37 percent backing the Republican Party and 35 percent supporting the Democratic Party.

“At this time, it appears that the three major races in North Carolina are going to come down to the wire,” Bacot said in September. “While the public has not made a final determination among the candidates, nearly everyone can agree that the economy is the major issue in these upcoming contests.”

October 2008 Findings

The most recent poll conducted involving candidate preference took place Sept. 29-Oct. 2, where a majority of the 477 North Carolinians questioned said they blamed the GOP for the nation’s economic woes.

This poll revealed that the race for the White House was still neck-and-neck, with 39 percent of residents surveyed supporting the Republican Party and 39 percent backing the Democratic Party.

But differences became more apparent when respondents were asked who would manage the economy better: 44 percent favored Obama compared to 42 percent for McCain. Seven percent said neither candidate.

“North Carolina, following the national trend, is leaning Democrat for president,” Bacot said. “Should this pattern prevail, the result would be a startling change in state presidential politics for more than one reason. Not only have the Democrats failed to win North Carolina in over thirty years, such a victory would mark a major milestone for the black community here and throughout the South.”

Perdue was supported by 33 percent for governor, while McCrory was supported by 37 percent.

Click HERE for more information on these polls.

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