The headline from the Elon University Poll is that Obama has pulled into a tie with Romney in North Carolina among likely voters, 45-45. Way down is the news that Obama leads by 2 points with registered voters.
Also, the poll was conducted Oct. 21-26, meaning that the first two days preceded the final presidential debate, in which Obama dominated. So, if anything, the poll may over-estimate where Romney stands in N.C. today.
Elon is one of the few live-interviewer polls, and its relatively large sample size of 1,200-plus reduces the margin of error to below 3 percent.
In the gubernatorial race, Pat McCrory is still ahead by double-digits. The internals are interesting. Here's the full poll release from Elon:
[Update, 10-25: So yes, I did watch and McCrory was asked the Goldman question. He said he was "very concerned" at what he was reading about Debra Goldman's behavior and wondered if it was "appropriate for an elected official." Which behavior? He didn't say, and he didn't come right out and say what should be obvious, which is that Goldman, even if you give her the benefit of every doubt, isn't qualified to be state auditor.
[On the other hand, McCrory did give a shout-out to Democrat Beth Wood for "a good job" as auditor, which was the political equivalent of throwing Goldman's candidacy under the bus.
[Not a tough decision, really, but McCrory might've ducked the question completely ("I'm aware of the rumors, but that's all they are, and I won't comment on them ..."). So I give McCrory a passing grade on this basic test of leadership.]
The original post from yesterday afternoon follows —
I'll be watching the McCrory-Dalton debate tonight at 7 because, well, I still think who's governor is kind of important.
Pat McCrory is leading in the polls and brushing off all questions about everything. But here's one I hope he's asked and will answer:
If you're elected governor, do you think our state would be better served by having an auditor of the same party as yours — the Republican nominee, Debra Goldman — who is pretty obviously unqualified to be auditor? In other words, no auditor at all to be a watchdog over your administration?
Or, wouldn't it better for us and you, as governor, to retain Beth Wood as auditor, since she's done a good job in office, is a CPA, is qualified, and takes her responsibilities seriously?
The saga of Debra Goldman is well-known and I won't repeat it here. If you need a good recap of the recent Goldman-Malone caper, Carter Wrenn offers one today on the Talking About Politics blog.
I don't dislike Debra Goldman. I think she's tried, by her own lights, to be a good school board member. Her personal problems didn't help, obviously. I feel a little sorry for her actually. That said —
McCrory should make a clear statement that he doesn't support Goldman and is recommending that Wood be re-elected. Not to do so is to say, I'm a Republican hack, and I support Republicans regardless of the facts.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane is an unaffiliated voter on the rolls but a "D" at heart. Today, she joined Durham Mayor Bill Bell, a "D" for sure, at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, which sounds like it was fun. And she endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election bid, which is a surprise only in that I would've thought she'd already done so.
Anyway, for the record, here's what the Obama for America NC folks had to say:
Raleigh, NC — Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane today endorsed President Obama alongside Durham Mayor Bill Bell at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub overlooking the site where Raleigh's new transit hub, Union Station, will be built. Mayors McFarlane and Bell outlined their support for the President’s vision that a thriving economy depends on a thriving middle class.
Mayor McFarlane said, “In this election, voters in North Carolina are facing the clearest choice they’ve faced in a generation — a choice between two competing visions for the future of our state and our country. President Obama understands what has made North Carolina into the best place in the country to live, work, state a business and raise a family. Which is why I am standing here today to officially announce my endorsement for President Obama for another four years in the White House.”
President Obama has remained committed to investing in infrastructure, education and innovation. He fought to keep tens of thousands of teachers in North Carolina’s public schools through Race to the Top, and invested in major infrastructure projects such as the new high-speed rail line from Raleigh to Charlotte and the new Raleigh Union Station, which recently received a $21 million TIGER grant.
“The Romney-Ryan budget would slash investments in local infrastructure and education. Governor Romney simply doesn’t understand what it takes to grow our economy from the middle class out,” said Mayor McFarlane. “He plans to reduce Pell Grants by $830 on average for North Carolina students and could cut scientific research by up to 20%. The choice for North Carolinians couldn’t be clearer.”
Mayor Bell said, “President Obama’s plan to grow the economy from the middle out is the same blueprint that transformed North Carolina into a leader in the global economy over the last half-century, and it is the way forward to our future economic success. We have come a long way, but there is a lot more work to do. That’s why I am asking every North Carolinian to vote early for President Obama.”
Last week I wrote in the Indy about early voting as an antidote to Republican efforts to obstruct the voting process.
I mentioned the Republican Party's post-1965 history of "ballot security" campaigns to discourage minority voters, as in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. if space permitted, I'd have gone back to my first experience with voter suppression, which was Tony Imperiale and his armed Italian-American Republicans "guarding' the polls in Newark, New Jersey in the 1970s.
I did mention the billboards in minority communities warning residents about the penalties for voter fraud.
So over the weekend we've had these stories.
* In The New Republic, the Republicans are at it again in Ohio trying to keep blacks from voting.
* Meanwhile, Clear Channel used billboards in minority neighborhoods of Cleveland, Columbus and other Ohio cities to warn about the penalties for voter fraud.
Clear Channel is the communications behemoth known for, among other things, backing the War on Iraq to the hilt and blacklisting the Dixie Chicks when their lead singer spoke out in opposition to it.
Then there are the scattered, but numerous cases of phone calls to voters, especially senior citizens, with misleading information about voting hours and/or requirements, plus the efforts in states (e.g., Pennsylvania) where photo ID requirements were blocked to "inform" voters that a photo ID may be needed anyway.
Voting is our right, one that should be simple to exercise. Instead, more than one in three adults eligible to vote in the United States will not do so.
Voter suppression is just one reason for that sad statistic. But in a two-party system in which razor-tight elections are the norm, a voter suppression campaign that trims one side's vote by even 1 percent in one state is dangerous and can turn an election around. And these campaigns are not just in one state, they're in every battleground state, including Ohio, Florida, Virginia — and yes, North Carolina.
A post-script to my Early Voting post yesterday. When I arrived at the Talley Center (N.C. State), I was greeted by a pair of Democratic poll workers: Stephanie Eriksen Goslen, who's been in the Indy before, including as part of the Code Pink contingent honored in our 2005 Citizen Awards, and Stephanie's grandmother, Pota Vallas.
Vallas, who used to own the National Art Interiors furniture and design shop on the corner of Hillsborough Street and Glenwood Avenue, is 104.
That's right, she's been voting for presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932. She never misses an election, whether national, state or local, she said. That's a lesson she learned from her father, a naturalized citizen who was born in Greece. He opened a store on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh when he was 17, selling ice cream and candy that he made in the basement.
Her father was rabid about the importance of voting and a lifelong Democrat, she said.
She is, too. But what counts the most for her, she said, is the person, not the party. And in that vein, the news media has gotten slack in her later years about telling voters who the candidates are — their life stories, their character, and their accomplishments, if any.
The newspapers used to write about the candidates in detail, she said. They don't any more.
This year, though, she's in no doubt: She's for Obama. "He's shown himself to be a real leader," Vallas said. "I admire him to the extreme."
One reason she does is his life story. Abandoned by his father, raised by his mother and her parents, he sure didn't start life with a silver spoon in his mouth. "He came from nowhere," she said. "How he became president, I do not know!"
Grandmother and granddaughter had voted earlier. Now, as others came, the two were showing them how to fill out the ballot, which is not a simple proposition.
One of the voters they prepped: Maya Eriksen, who arrived just after I did. Maya, a College of Design student at State, is Stephanie's daughter and Pota Vallas's great-granddaughter. A fourth-generation Vallas.
Maya listened carefully to the briefing, as did I:
1) Be sure to vote for President and Vice President.
2) You can cast a straight-party vote if you want for all of the partisan state and congressional offices; but doing so does NOT mean you've voted for that party's presidential candidate.
3) Of course, you may want to split your ticket and vote for some Democrats, some Republicans, maybe a Libertarian or two.
4) The judicial races begin on the front (or they did on my ballot) and continue on the back, so be sure to turn the ballot over. Some of the judicial races are contested. Some aren't. I must say, it took me a minute to sort out which candidates were unopposed and which were running against each other.
5) The judicial races are officially non-partisan, which means (for most folks) you'll be looking at a list of names you don't recognize. That's one reason why you should clip or print out an Indy voting guide and stick it in your pocket.
6) In Wake County, there's a ballot question at the very end: $200 million for Wake Tech expansions? That'd be a yes vote IMHO.
Early-voting sites are listed on the State Board of Elections website, along with dates and hours they're open.
I followed my own advice and voted today. In the Indy, I focused on the wisdom of early voting 1) to be sure you do vote; 2) to help get that bandwagon moving to the polls; and 3) to deal early with any challenges, obstacles or fear tactics that may be coming your way — especially in minority communities — in an effort to keep you from voting.
Here, I want to emphasize how easy it is to vote early — how easy I found it to be, anyway, as I voted over at N.C. State's Talley Student Center — and the fact that students can vote early on campus or at any of the early-voting sites regardless of their family address and regardless whether they've registered to vote.
The picture above is of a wall outside the student center. The chalker was a little over-anxious to vote (!) ... or perhaps he/she meant to say that early voting stars.
I went into Talley, took the elevator to the fourth floor, and within three minutes I had the proper ballot in my hand for the precinct in Raleigh where I live. Then I went to the room with the voting booths, filled out the ballot and put it in the machine. As always, it felt great to cast my vote.
The set-up would've been the same for me had I been a State student registered previously in Wake County.
But let's say I was a State student who'd registered at my family address in Buncombe County, or Lenoir County, or wherever.
With one-stop voting, I could've re-registered on the spot* and voted using my Raleigh (student) address. "Many students have," one of my Cameron Park neighbors, Drusilla Williams, told me when I asked. She's the early voting site manager for the Wake Board of Elections.
When I re-registered, my prior registration would be struck from the rolls to prevent the possibility of my trying to vote twice. (This message is for you, True the Vote.)
Or, say I was a State student not previously registered. In that case, the one-stop system would be tailor-made for me. I could register* at one table and get my ballot at another.
(* To register at an early-voting site, you need to show some form of identification indicating that you currently live in the county where you're intending to vote. A student ID suffices. Or a utility bill. Below, I've copied the ID requirement from the State of Elections website.)
But remember, students (and others). This one-stop system only applies at early-voting sites.
It does not apply on Election Day. If you show up on Election Day, and you aren't registered, you're out of luck. (And if you haven't registered already, it's too late to do so and vote on Election Day — but again, you can register and vote at the same time at an early-voting site.)
To register at an early-voting site, any one of the following is sufficient identification (copied from the State Board of Elections website — look for the Quick Reference Guide for Voters to the right):
• NC driver license or identification card • Other government‐issued photo ID
• Documents showing name and current address of the applicant:
• Utility bill: telephone; mobile phone; electric or gas ; cable television; water or sewage
• Bank statement or bank‐issued credit card statement
• Government paycheck; invoice; letter; or any other document from a local, state, or U.S. government agency
• Property tax bill
• License to hunt, fish, own a gun, etc.
• Automotive registration
• Public housing or Social Service Agency document
• Paycheck or paycheck stub from an employer or a W‐2 statement
• Birth certificate
• Student photo ID along with a document from the school showing the student’s name and current address
Found near the scene of last night's mugging in Denver:
I have to say I got very little out of that mess. The moderator let Romney run all over the so-called time limits early, while Obama listened and tried to stay cool. But after awhile, Obama started taking extra time too, so Romney took more.
But hey, Lincoln and Douglas didn't have any stinkin' moderator and went at it for hours, and their debates are the stuff of legend. But I think they probably stuck to the issues (slavery, no slavery) and the facts a bit more.
At the end of 90 minutes, Romney has no platform left whatsoever. He's not cutting taxes, apparently, despite his tax-cut plan. He's putting more money into Medicare, not cutting it. He's regulating Wall Street. He's ... making very little sense, except that he sounded so sure of himself. It must be what the Enron guys sounded like back in the day when they were booking to market reporting fake revenues.
I think when your positions don't add up to anything, you get a DQ — disqualified.
That's what I give Romney.
Obama seemed confused by the fact that Romney's long-stated positions on the issues were all of a sudden inoperative. Obama let so many chances go by to skewer Romney (e.g., how outsourcing jobs earns a corporate tax break) that the best he can get is INC — incomplete.
On the other hand, with Jim Lehrer willing to give Romney multiple last licks on every subject, and with Romney willing to take any position regardless of veracity in order to dispute whatever Obama said, skewering him wasn't going to be easy.
If Al Gore was watching, I'll bet he sighed heavily many times. If only he'd been allowed to debate Romney-style back in 2000, the course of history would've been different.
If you follow me on Twitter @rjgeary, you'll know I graded the debate as Dalton, B ... McCrory, F.
Someone accused me of grading on a curve. I did give Dalton some extra credit for improving as the hour went on. (Any teacher would.) He almost knows too much about state government, and he's handicapped by not being willing to say that additional revenues — i.e., a tax increase — would help the state. Still, he takes the job seriously.
McCrory simply evaded every question except the one on fracking, which he enthusiastically supports. On top of that, McCrory offered the first misleading negative attack when he accused Dalton of supporting a 15 percent sales tax increase. Actually, it was 3/4ths of a penny, and Dalton says he backed it when it was in place, but doesn't advocate it for the next four years.
Then later, McCrory whined about the lack of honesty in political campaigns when Dalton said Charlotte's taxes were high under Pat, which they were. Of course, they were high because of Charlotte's 1/2-cent sales tax for transit, which McCrory supported 14 years ago — and which remains the one good thing on McCrory's otherwise skimpy record.
Here's my takeaway: What in the world is McCrory's position on taxes? He was asked that question directly. Of course, that doesn't mean he gave a direct answer.
I'll watch it again in the morning and maybe have more to say then.
Next up: The other debate.
This will take less than 3 minutes of your time, and it will lift your spirits about politics. (h/t BlueNC)