In an election for North Carolina Governor today, 08/12/08, 12 weeks to the vote, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and Republican Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory finish effectively even, neither gaining ground, with Libertarian Mike Munger siphoning votes from both, according to this latest SurveyUSA election tracking poll conducted exclusively for WTVD-TV in Raleigh. Today, it's Perdue 47%, McCrory 44%, within the survey's 3.9 percentage point margin of sampling error. When Duke Professor Munger's 5% is added in, and combined with another 5% who are undecided, Perdue's slight advantage is not significant, at this hour. The contest is fluid. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released four weeks ago, Perdue is flat, McCrory is down 2, Munger is up 2. Munger gets 7% of the male vote, taking votes from the Republican McCrory, and 7% of those 18 to 34, taking votes from the Democrat Perdue. McCrory leads by 18 points in Charlotte and the western portion of the state, where Munger gets 5% and Perdue is losing ground. Perdue leads by 18 points in the Raleigh and Greensboro areas, where Munger gets 5% and McCrory is losing ground. Perdue and McCrory are tied in southern and coastal North Carolina. Incumbent governor Mike Easley, first elected in 2000, is term limited. The seat is open. The current is swift.
Key points here:
1) Munger, like Libertarian Senate candidate Chris Cole, is not running as some sort of Nader-like barnacle fastened on the GOP hull. He's pulling in thoughtful, disenchanted voters from both parties. This is essential to the future of the Libertarian Party.
2) Now established at a firm 5%, Munger's numbers are large enough to allow firm regional and demographic analysis. He's scoring well among white males, among 17-34 year-olds, and is running equally well in the Charlotte/western NC and Raleigh/Greensboro regions. He's a legitimate state-wide candidate.
3) Munger's numbers will certainly go up after the October 15 debate, assuming that Bev Perdue has the guts to show up. I wouldn't. Dr Munger has a razor-sharp wit and no need to take prisoners (oops, sorry jason, I think I just veered off into hate speech there)....
North Carolina continues to be the Libertarian Party's most interesting and successful laboratory for experiments with electoral success.
Pity that neither Bob Barr nor national headquarters actually gives a shit.