With Election Day here, North Carolina finds itself in the midst of yet another bout of election problems. Gary Bartlett, Director of the NC Board of Elections, wants to brush these problems under the rug while remaining in denial about the perceived partisan and arbitrary nature of the Board.
"As we've seen with gerrymandering, whoever draws the lines sets who gets elected for the next 10 years,"said Chris Hayes, senior legislative analyst for the political think tank John W. Pope Civitas Institute. "This is the best chance Republicans have had in decades, and it's looking highly likely."
It is often theorized that mid-term Presidential year elections are simply referendums on the voters’ satisfaction with the current administration’s term in office. Often though, those mid-term elections, like we are having in 2010 are met with substantial losses for the party in power. In fact, only twice in the past 100 years has the party who controlled the Presidency picked up seats in Congress during that President’s first mid-term year election.
North Carolina voters’ opposition to health care reform and their souring opinion of President Barack Obama are the driving forces behind voting behavior and voter expectations for the fall elections.
Civitas polling indicates that the November election could certainly reset the balance of power in the North Carolina General Assembly. It is a similar story to what happened in 1994. Indicators are based on a legislative generic ballot question asked every month in Civitas’ statewide poll:”"If the election for North Carolina state legislature were held today, would you be voting:” for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate?
Chapel Hill's voter-owned elections program had its first run in 2009 and is already being heralded as a success. Supporters say the municipal elections achieved all of the aims that taxpayer-funded campaigns are meant to achieve. The only thing that public financing really achieved, however, was victory for the candidates who used it.
Ballot security is most often thought of as the process of safe-guarding voted and unvoted ballots and making them only accessible to certified election officials. What is not considered is the security of the ballot when it is handed to the voter at the polling place. North Carolina requires only that a voter state their name and address in order to receive a ballot, opting for the honor system instead of ballot security in the polling place.
State and national blogs have been all abuzz with headlines referencing U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's (R-NC) potential vulnerability citing new polling information released by Civitas and Public Policy Polling (PPP). These articles seem to be somewhat surprised that the Senate race is closer than they thought it should be.
Seven additional seats in the General Assembly (three in the House, four in the Senate) have recently come open either through members retiring mid-term, or announcing they would not be seeking re-election or running for higher office. So once again, let’s take a look inside the numbers to see if any of these could be in play in 2010.
Two veteran North Carolina lawmakers in recent weeks have announced their decision to not run for re-election in 2010. Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, a three-term Democratic House member from Richmond County, announced on Sep. 8 that she would not seek a fourth term. And Rep. Jim Gulley, a seventh-term Mecklenburg County Republican, said on September 15 that this term will be his last.
It was no secret last year that candidate Bev Perdue had a “Charlotte problem" in her race for Governor. Despite running even or slightly ahead statewide, she trailed badly in the polls against Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory in the region. That is much to be expected given McCrory’s history and publicity as a popular leader in the largest media market in the state. When the votes were counted, Perdue lost the region, but surprisingly won Mecklenburg County, no doubt through the success of the Obama’s turnout machine.
According to Civitas’ July polling, after just seven months in office, Governor Bev Perdue’s favorability rating has fallen to 30 percent. This low number is well off the previous high of 58 percent the first time we asked the question in our March poll.
On July 2, The News and Observer’s Web site posted an article recapping a report on North Carolina’s publicly financed judicial elections by the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS). The newspaper’s disregard of insightful reporting about the report’s potential impact on upcoming elections is unsettling.
Polls show Perdue's popularity slipping among voters
Civitas polling over the past two months has shown a significant decline in both Gov. Bev Perdue’s job approval and personal favorability ratings. After beginning the year riding high on the Democratic honeymoon period thanks to President Obama, Perdue’s numbers have taken a sharp nose dive. Her job approval rating is basically even and her personal favorability has fallen into the negative range.