Civitas Poll: Republican Dawkins Grabs Lead in Leaning Democratic House District 44

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Raleigh, N.C. – Republican candidate Johnny Dawkins is leading Democratic Rep. Diane Parfitt by eight percent in the state House District 44 race, according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the poll of 350 registered voters in that district, comprised of Cumberland County, 48 percent said they would vote for Dawkins if the election for state representative were held today.  Forty percent of voters said they would vote for Parfitt, and 12 percent said they are undecided.

Republican voters are in support of Dawkins by an 83 percent-5 percent margin while Democrats back Parfitt by 61 percent-30 percent.  Unaffiliated voter support is almost equally split (44 percent in support of Parfitt – 41 percent in support of Dawkins) between the candidates.

“While this is a leaning Democratic district, this race is looking more like an open seat due to Parfitt’s low name identification due to her having never run before,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes.  “Unaffiliated voters, who are currently divided in their choice of candidate, may play a crucial role in this race.”

Parfitt, appointed as state representative in February, has a +8 favorability rating as 24 percent of voters have an opinion of her (16 percent favorable-8 percent unfavorable).  Meanwhile, 44 percent of voters said they are neutral, and 32 percent said they have no opinion of her candidacy.

Conversely, Dawkins appears to be benefitting in residual name identification from his term on the city council, and his family’s longstanding history of involvement in the Fayetteville political scene.  Forty-nine percent of voters have an opinion of him (34 percent favorable-15 percent unfavorable), for a net +19 favorable rating.  Twenty-nine percent of voters said they are neutral, and 22 percent said they have no opinion of Dawkins’ campaign for state House.

“Dawkins is capitalizing on his family’s familiar name among voters,” added Hayes.  “But there is more to his lead than just name recognition; Dawkins is also winning a large portion of Democratic voters.”

House District 44 is rated as a D+7 district on Civitas’ North Carolina Partisan Index – an index that rates the relative partisan voting habits of individual legislative districts.  For more on the NCPI, click here.

For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.

The survey of 350 registered voters was taken September 15-16 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Civitas Institute using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) method.  It carries a margin of error of +/- 5.3%.

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.

This article was posted in Press Releases by Katie Trout on September 22, 2010 at 3:54 PM.

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