Elizabeth Dole: Missing Inaction

Elizabeth Dole's absence from North Carolina has long been fodder for discussion among Democrats.  We're prone to refer to her as a carpetbagger and talk about her 40+ year absence from the state, her voting history in Kansas, her run for president as a Kansan and her residence at the Watergate where she and husband Bob have lived since they were married in 1975.  What we don't talk about is her long history of service in North Carolina because there is no history to speak of.

You would think that after a rushed residency period and her election to the U.S. Senate as a "North Carolinian" in 2002 that Dole would start spending a little more time in this state.  Time she could use to get to know the people and our goals, dreams and hopes for the wonderful state we live in.  Time she could use to gain understanding of the challenges and obstacles we face in North Carolina.  If you honestly thought Dole was going to spend any substantive time here, you're wrong.  Dead wrong.

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PPP: Economy Driving NC Voters To Hagan And Obama

Public Policy Polling has released a new poll out of North Carolina (1,060 LVs, Sept. 17-19, MOE +/- 3%) with good news for both Barack Obama and Kay Hagan (9/9 results in parentheses.)

Obama 46 (44)
McCain 46 (48)

Hagan 46 (43)
Dole 41 (42)

PPP concludes that the surges of 4 and 5 points respectively for the Democrats in just 10 days are directly attributable to concerns over the economy. For both Hagan and Obama, as economic anxiety increases, so does their overall support in the state.

The % of respondents who now name the economy as their number one issue is at 58%, the highest it's been all year and a huge 10% increase since late August. Among these voters, Kay Hagan wins 57-30 over Dole and Obama wins 58-34 over McCain.

While it should be noted that the margin of error increases as the sample size shrinks, the trend is remarkably consistent, as this chart from PPP's blog illustrates:

Date% economy top issueSpread
1/21/0839McCain +14
5/9/0843McCain +7
8/23/0848McCain +3

But is this enough to drive Democrats to victory in NC this year? Nate Silver is skeptical yet concedes that the McCain campaign is certainly not taking North Carolina for granted.

The McCain campaign said Saturday that it had opened 14 offices in the state and hired 20 paid staffers — a number that said it would likely grow to 20 offices and 25 to 30 staffers.

"This is a state that Sen. Obama and his campaign have targeted and put extraordinary resources and finances in the state," said Mike DuHaime, the political director for the North Carolina McCain campaign.

In another push, President Bush is scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Greensboro on Sept. 30 to raise money for the McCain-Palin ticket.

And Barack did campaign in Charlotte, NC today, speaking out about the proposed $700b bailout. His campaign seems to get that the higher the economy is on the list of priorities of voters in a red state like North Carolina, the less likely it is that the Republicans will be able to distract voters with their usual wedge issues. As the PPP blog put it:

Republican Presidential candidates tend to win in North Carolina even though the Democrats have a large registration advantage because conservative Democrats and independents so often choose the GOP candidate. Their choices are often driven by social issues and immigration. The more those voters make their decisions based on the economy the more likely Democrats are to succeed.

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NC-Sen, NC-Pres: Trouble For Republicans In North Carolina

The latest Democracy Corps/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) poll (852 LVs, Aug. 20-26) shows real trouble for Elizabeth Dole and John McCain in North Carolilna this November.

First off, in a head to head match-up, Elizabeth Dole is now running 5 points behind her MyDD Road to 60 challenger Kay Hagan.

Hagan 50
Dole 45

This appears to be more an anti-Dole vote than a pro-Hagan vote. First of all, only 46% of those polled are even familiar with Kay Hagan but they appear to really want Dole gone: her job approval rating is down to 38%.

Public Policy Polling, which conducted a poll around the same time and found Hagan up 3 points over Dole, attributes Hagan's lead to DSCC's strong ads against Dole:

What the DSCC is doing to Elizabeth Dole right now is the political equivalent of a punch in the gut from Muhammad Ali.

Kay Hagan has taken a narrow lead in North Carolina's Senate race after trailing by 14 points just two months ago.

There's not much doubt where the momentum is coming from. 69% of voters in the state have seen the television ads about Elizabeth Dole's #93 ranking for effectiveness in the US Senate, and among those folks Hagan has an even wider 45-39 lead. Dole's saving grace is voters who don't watch much tv- she leads 45-34 with those who have not seen the ad.

At the presidential level, while John McCain is still holding Barack Obama off, albeit by a measley 3 points (47-44), there are some real warning signs for the Republican, namely that his message simply is not getting out to North Carolina voters. Not only does Obama do better than McCain on the issues of the economy and jobs, energy and even taxes, on a personal level:

Over half (55 percent) of North Carolina voters believe the statement "has good judgment" describes Barack Obama and a majority of voters (54 percent) reject the notion that "not ready to lead" describes Obama.

In other words, Barack Obama's message about himself is getting through, John McCain's message about Obama is not.

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NC-SEN: C4O Spotlights Kay Hagan

(Proudly Cross Posted at Clintonistas For Obama and ComputerQueen.Net)

Today I rise in support of the Candidacy of Kay Hagan to represent the Great State of North Carolina in the United States Senate.

While in the North Carolina State Senate, Mrs. Hagan has worked tirelessly to support her constituents.  She has been a vocal advocate for Safer Schools and Streets.  She has crossed party lines to ensure a balanced budged in her state, and pushed reform measures to open the budgeting process to the public.  Kay was instrumental in the effort to make North Carolina a leader in encouraging power companies to use renewable energy sources.  She also led the charge to make up the difference when Washington failed to adequately fund the Children's Health Insurance Program.  Kay has been a liberal lion for her district and for the State of North Carolina.

If she can effect all this change in the State Senate, think of the amount of change she can help President Obama effect if we send her to the US Senate!  

In her own words:

Military and Veterans

The government needs to protect the American people with a strong, well-funded military. Kay has consistently been a strong supporter of the military and has been a leader in making sure that North Carolina remains the most military-friendly state in the country. When Washington came up short, Kay helped members of the National Guard get the living and travel expenses they were owed, and she has supported efforts to make sure that the National Guard was getting all the training and equipment they needed to do their jobs and to come home safely. She will support better pay for our brave service members and she will oppose extended deployments that prohibit necessary rest and training. Kay also opposes the proposed Navy outlying landing field and will push for a solution that works for the military and for North Carolinians.

As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and the aunt of two young men currently serving in the military, it's personal to Kay when it comes to taking care of our veterans and rewarding their service and sacrifice. With over a million service members having served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country needs to improve its commitment to our veterans. Kay will continue to support increased funding for veterans' health care and providing benefits for our veterans so we are not leaving them homeless and out in the cold. She will insist on passing a new GI Bill so returning veterans can go to college, and she favors a major investment in mental health resources for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to make sure this generation of veterans gets appropriate treatment for the invisible casualties of combat.

We have the power to help her fight for Veterans.

Health Care
Making health care affordable and accessible to everyone is crucial to our economic competitiveness and to North Carolina families' well-being. When Washington failed to adequately fund the children's health insurance program, Kay stepped up and pushed for state funds to make sure children got coverage. In the Senate, she will keep fighting to extend health coverage to children and will oppose unfunded mandates by supporting increased funding for Medicaid. She will fight to lower costs by implementing electronic medical records, eliminating the extraordinary waste in the system, giving small businesses new options for buying insurance together and allowing the government to negotiate for lower drug costs for Medicare recipients.

North Carolina, as well as the nation, must reduce our nursing shortage. Kay supports improving education to boost the number of qualified applicants, and she will push to improve the quality and availability of nursing programs.

She's already a leader in Health Care in her state - now we can help her work with Our Next President to effect this form of Pragmatic and Positive change nationwide!

We can enable her to become a leader in the charge for a responsible energy policy, heavy in renewable sources, and we desperately need leadership like hers to help balance the National budget.

C4O has been committed to sending good Progressive Democrats to Washington to build a coalition for President Obama to work with, and this laudable candidate is a prime choice for that role.

I'll leave you with a video from Kay Hagan's website.

As always, please help C4O send Our All Stars and Our Rising Stars to Washington!

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NC-Sen: All Tied Up?

H/t to HellOfaSandwich in Breaking Blue for the news that a new Insider Advantage poll has Road To 60 Democratic challenger Kay Hagan now tied with do-nothing incumbent Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) at just under 40% each. The fact that Other and Undecideds add up to a full 20% speaks volumes about North Carolinians' discontent with Dole as their senator. An incumbent who can't even get 40% is a huge problem.

I do wonder whether the poll may have oversampled Democrats though, since the poll lists an equal number of respondents who identify as Democrats as identify as Republicans but this is a great boost to Hagan who'd seen Dole retake a fairly solid lead in some polls (Pollster's trend estimate has Dole up by 8%.) While we'll look for subsequent polls to confirm whether this new tightening is real, it does look like the new air offensive by the DSCC, MoveOn and Hagan herself may be paying some dividends.

More on the poll from Swing State Project:

Bonus finding: McCain leads Obama by 45-43 in North Carolina. Hagan currently outperforms Obama among white voters (who break 54-33 for McCain, and 46-34 for Dole), but lags Obama's performance among African-Americans (who favor Obama by 75-17, but Hagan only by 61-24). If Hagan can cut down on cross-over voting among black voters and make a steady gain among whites, she could be in a good position for an upset by election day.

You can help Kay Hagan out over at our Road To 60 ActBlue page.

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