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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

NC Emerging as Battleground

Senator Obama has opened up a narrow lead in recent NC polls, in the wake of growing concerns about the financial meltdown, Sarah Palin’s qualifications and McCain’s performance in the first televised debate.
In a survey of 1,041 NC LV‘s conducted 9/28-29 by Public Policy Polling (m.o.e. 3.0), Obama leads McCain 47-45. In more good news for Dems, Senate candidate Kay Hagan increased her lead over Senator Elizabeth Dole to 46-38, a 3 percent net gain from a week ago.
The poll also shows Obama winning 36 percent of NC’s white voters. PPP believes he can win the state with 35 percent. In addition, Obama increased his edge with NC independents by 6 percent over last week to 48-37.
A Rasmussen poll conducted 9/23 also indicates a narrow lead for Obama in NC, 49-47 percent.
Democrats have registered 194,000 new NC voters since January, compared to 28,500 for Republicans. An estimated 1/3 of all new voters are African Americans. NC voter registration ends 10/10, but voters can register and vote at the same time at “One-Stop Voting Sites” across the state between 10/16 and 11/1.
Charlotte is now the nation’s second largest banking center, having overtaken San Francisco, and employs an estimated 83,000 people in the integrated banking and insurance industry, reports Facing South‘s Chris Kromm. Turmoil at Wachovia and Bank of America, two of Charlotte’s banking giants, has raised the specter of a round of layoffs before the election. B of A alone is expected to layoff as much as 10 percent of it’s workforce in the weeks ahead. Wachovia already slashed 11,000 jobs in the area earlier this year, and more layoffs are likely. NC unemployment was 6.3 percent in August, higher than the national average. The PPP poll indicated that Obama has a 55-38 percent lead over McCain among NC voters whose leading concern is the economy.
There is some concern among NC Dems about the so-called “Bradley effect,” in which voters who are polled tend to overstate their support for African American candidates, as happened when Harvey Gantt lost to Jesse Helms in NC’s 1990 senate race. However, Obama’s election percentage in victory and defeat was close to his poll performance, and Nate Silver has concluded that the Bradley effect is no longer a factor.
The Obama campaign has slated new ad-buys and public appearances by the Dem ticket. NC has 15 electoral votes, tied with GA and NJ in ranking 10th among the 50 states, and ranking 3rd in electoral votes on Chris Bowers’ latest short list of swing states, behind only FL and OH. Lots of interesting discussion about the tarheel state’s political transformation awaits readers at Daily Kos.

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