Thursday, June 14, 2012

Obama slipping among black NC voters? (Maybe not)

President Obama's campaign team was quick to jump this week when a new poll showed he'd slipped behind Republican Gov. Mitt Romney among North Carolina voters. The poll couldn't be right, they said. Why?

Because it showed Obama under-performing among African Americans, traditionally his most loyal constituency. Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, acknowledged as much in the press release.

"One caveat with Romney's lead on this poll is that it finds Obama winning the black vote by only a 76/20 margin," he wrote. "That seems like an unrealistically low share of African American voters for Obama."

The discrepancy even drew the attention of the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, who addressed it in his blog, The Fix under the headline, "President Obama's Mythical Black Voter Problem." In a series of charts he showed that Obama remains popular with black voters, hovering around 90 percent approval.

Jensen said if his latest poll has a skewed result for black voters, it probably over-estimates Obama's support among white voters. It showed 37 percent of white voters approving the president's performance. Those results were in the poll's cross-tabs, where the margin of error is higher than the poll's overall 3.4 percentage points.

Jensen said the point is, the race is close. And has been over nearly two dozen polls.

"Nineteen of 20 times the race has been within three points one way or another," he said. "It all points to this being a toss-up state that could go either way."

Even though his firm leans to the left, he said it's not the first time Democrats have groused.
"Sometimes we are going to put out polls that dont make Democrats happy," he said. "Our job is not to make people feel good. It's to tell people what's going on.’

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pat McCrory applauds 'courageous' council vote

Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory today applauded what he called the city council's "courageous vote" to defeat a city budget that included an 8 percent property tax hike.

At a "Women's Luncheon" at the Westin Hotel, McCrory, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, was asked what he thought about Monday's vote. 

"I've always made a point of staying out of local politics," he said. "I figure 14 years is enough. I agree with the majority of city council who made what I think is a courageous vote."

In defeating the budget 6-5, the council turned back a measure that would have helped finance extension of a streetcar line. Four Democrats joined the council's two Republicans in voting no.

Since then some Democrats have suggested McCrory called council members to lobby against the budget. Not so, McCrory said.

"I think people are trying to use me as a distraction," he said.

A new Public Policy Polling survey released today showed McCrory maintaining a lead over Democrat Walter Dalton. He led 47 percent to 40 percent, a margin virtually unchanged over the last month.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Look for Gabby Giffords at the DNC

It could be one of the emotional highlights of the 2012 Democratic National Convention: An appearance on stage at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from an assassination attempt.

It's a prospect Democratic national chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz signaled today when asked about the prospect of a Giffords appearance.

"I expect that she will," Wasserman Schultz told reporters at the arena. "In fact I'm going to see her in D.C. this afternoon. I'm sure we'll probably talk about it. We've already talked about that. I think she'd very much like to go."

Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, is close to Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who resigned in January to concentrate on her recovery.

She's scheduled to make a rare public appearance this weekend for for former aide Ron Barber, who's seeking to succeed her in Congress. Barber faces Republican Jesse Kelly in a June 12 special election for Giffords' seat.

According to a story in today's Politico, Barber, who was also wounded in the January 2011, has sought, in a newly drawn, GOP-leaning district, to distance himself from the man who will be re-nominated at the Charlotte convention.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Guilt by association at the Capital Grille?

For a time it was a symbol of one of the biggest corruption scandals in North Carolina history: the bathroom at Charlotte's Capital Grille restaurant. That was where prosecutors said then-Democratic House Speaker Jim Black accepted cash bribes from a group of chiropractors.

Monday Republicans invoked that rendezvous in attempt to link Lt. Gov. and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton to Democratic corruption.

State GOP Vice Chair Wayne King joined Mecklenburg County Republican chair Gideon Moore and a handful of supporters outside the Capital Grille, where Dalton had been scheduled to hold a campaign strategy meeting with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and others. That meeting was canceled, but not before Republicans announced plans to demonstrate outside.

And demonstrate they did, holding signs with pictures of Dalton, disgraced former Sen. John Edwards and controversial state party Chairman David Parker. "NC Failure Team," one poster read.

"I was wondering if Mayor Foxx and Lt. Gov. Dalton were going to get a bathroom to have their meeting," King told the only reporter who showed up.

The Dalton meeting was to be invitation only. King called it a "secret meeting" that was "abruptly canceled.

Said Dalton spokesman Schorr Johnson: "despite their manic rantings to the contrary, the lieutenant governor's schedule is based on balancing a robust campaign with his official duties, especially during the legislative session."