Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Public Policy Poll substantiates Libertarian impact in North Carolina

Public Policy Polling continues to find Libertarian Candidate Michael Munger garnering a solid 6% in the North Carolina governor's race.

This Libertarian factor is becoming critical, because Democrat Bev Perdue has now opened a 9 point lead over Republican Pat McCrory, and Munger is capturing a full 8% of the GOPer vote, and he's also polling higher among African-Americans than McCrory [8% to 7%].

Munger's numbers are probably actually being deflated in this poll. Reason? He scores substantially higher among men than women (9%-4%), and the poll numbers are significantly biased toward women (54%-46%); this suggests that Dr Mike might do a couple percentage points better in the general election.

(Besides, when NC voters really get the chance to see Munger in the October 15 debate, I'll bet his numbers among women go up. He presents well on issues that matter.)

What's even more interesting is that this poll shows Munger's running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Philip Rhodes, is also pulling 6%, but that Rhodes is attracting different voters than Munger.

Munger's voters, as mentioned above, are primarily male (9%), Republican (8%), and age 30-45 (11%).

Rhodes' voters are primarily female (7%), Democrat (7%), and age 18-29 (10%).

I'm not sure, in practical terms, precisely what this means, or why it's happening. Theoretically, it could be a survey artifact, but it doesn't feel like one. It feels like Munger and Rhodes--both Libertarians--are somehow appealing to two different but overlapping constituencies. This defies a lot of thinking about the nature of Libertarian voters.

One final note for Munger, Rhodes, and other Libertarian candidates. Dr Mike is running most strongly among voters concerned with immigration (12%) and education (11%). The problem is that in this poll only 6% of the voters selected either of these categories as their most important issue in Statewide races. Not surprisingly--given the real estate bust and rising energy prices--47% of the voters polled chose Economy and Jobs as their number one priority. Only 6% of those people are supporting a Libertarian.

To break through, then, my proposition is that Munger and Rhodes have to start hitting economy, energy policy, and jobs much harder. I know that Mike's positions on all those issues are both sound and salable, but obviously the voters don't know that.

Time to let them know.

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