One of the more interesting findings of this month’s poll results on Perdue’s favorability is her relative weakness with members of her own party. So it has to be asked, could she be vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2012?
Let’s explore the evidence:
1. She’s already ticked off a big portion of the Democratic base vote (teachers and state employees) with her executive order that cut their pay by 0.5% — which now seems unnecessary since she had $150 million left in the State’s Rainy Day fund unspent. (Remember, cutting their only got the state $60 million).
2. Perdue’s favorability rating among Democrats dropped below 50% in June and has never recovered. In our December poll, it’s at 43%.
Perdue’s Favorability with Democrats:
3. Also in our December poll, we asked what is called a “hard re-elect” question. This is used to gauge a politicians core support. Basically, it asks would you vote for (Insert Politician X) regardless of who ran against them. When asked about Perdue more than half of Democrats (51%) said no, they wouldn’t vote to re-elect her regardless of the opponent. Only 28% say they would. So more than half of Democrats are open to another candidate.
So what would happen if a popular Democrat got in the race against her? What if Cal Cunningham runs a good race against Sen. Burr but loses in a squeaker? Or Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton? Could an untarnished Democrat give her a run for her money?
Or could she be vulnerable from a challenge from her left? She’s cut salaries of teachers and state employees, slashed funding for Medicaid and other social programs and passed a very regressive tax increase. The BlueNC crowd isn’t exactly enamored with her.
It would be interesting to see. The problem for Perdue is if she takes steps to rebuild her base, she runs the risk of further alienating everyone in the middle and right. Or she can keep trying to play it down the middle as she’s doing now and make everyone unhappy. That might work in negotiations, but it could be a death sentence in politics.