Raleigh, N.C. – The battle for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional district seat between Republican candidate Ilario Pantano and Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre is virtually tied, according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.
According to the poll of 450 registered voters in that district, 46 percent of voters said they would vote for Pantano if the election for United States House of Representatives were held today. Forty-five percent said they would vote for McIntyre, and nine percent of voters said they are undecided.
However, when looking at those who are most likely to vote in 2010, Pantano’s lead jumps to a 52 percent-42 percent margin. In addition, Republicans are heavily backing Pantano (81 percent-14 percent), along with unaffiliated voters by a 61 percent-34 percent margin. Democratic voters are in support of McIntyre by 71 percent-16 percent.
Furthermore, 46 percent of voters think McIntyre is a moderate compared to 21 percent who think he is a conservative. Nineteen percent of voters said he is a liberal, and 14 percent said they are not sure.
“McIntyre touts the fact that he is a conservative Blue Dog Democrat; this has given him an edge in appealing to both moderate and conservative voters in the district,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “But this has also turned off portions of hard-line Democratic, especially African-American, voters who have become disappointed with McIntyre and his diversion from voting with the President.”
Pantano, a veteran and small businessman, seems to have capitalized upon an active campaign as 54 percent of voters in the district have an opinion of him (29 percent favorable-25 percent unfavorable), for a net +4 favorability rating. Twenty-seven percent of voters said they are neutral, and 18 percent said they have no opinion of his candidacy.
McIntyre, currently serving his 7th term, holds the advantage in name recognition among voters as the incumbent. However, with 68 percent of voters having an opinion of him, his favorability margin stands at 30 percent favorable-38 percent unfavorable. Twenty-seven percent of voters said their opinion is neutral, and 18 percent said they have no opinion of him.
“The Republican tide is making this race very competitive, and the intensifying rhetoric between the two campaigns bears this out. This race will be very close and may be determined by which candidate can establish himself among moderate and conservative voters who are heavily expected at the polls,” added Hayes.
The district is rated as an R+5 district by the Cook Political Report – an index that rates the relative partisan voting habits of individual legislative districts.
For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.
The survey of 450 registered voters was taken September 24-26 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Civitas Institute using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) method. It carries a margin of error of +/- 4.7%.
This SurveyUSA poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Where necessary, responses were weighted according to age, gender, ethnic origin, geographical area and number of adults and number of voice telephone lines in the household, so that the sample would reflect the actual demographic proportions in the population, using most recent U.S. Census estimates. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely voter). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for this survey was done by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ.