Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black voters a challenge for Hagan?

Tom Jenson, communications director for Public Policy Polling, has an interesting take on the latest numbers his firm has in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (49 percent) and Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan (40 percent)

"Kay Hagan narrowed the race to five points when she was on the air and Elizabeth Dole wasn't, and Dole built the lead back up to 14 points when she was on the air and Hagan wasn't. Now with neither of them spending much money the race has stabilized at a nine point Dole lead, which seems like a reasonable baseline as the general election campaign really commences.

"One problem for Hagan is one that plagued Erskine Bowles against Dole in 2002. Dole polls unusually well for a Republican among black voters, trailing just 63-25 in this particular survey. Hagan will have a hard time defeating Dole unless she gets at least 80% of the black vote.

"This race took on a completely different tenor in recent days with the news that the DSCC plans to make a large investment in this race. If Hagan is able to get black voters to choose her at the same rate they do most Democrats, and that money is put to good use this race could tighten again in the fall."


I asked Tom by e-mail why he thought Dole was doing unusually well among black voters and why Hagan wasn't. Here's what he had to say:

"I think she was able to attract a good amount of black support the first time around because folks were unhappy (former state Rep. and Speaker) Dan Blue (an African American) lost the primary. If I remember correctly Blue didn’t endorse Bowles until like a week before the election (or did he even endorse him at all?)

"I think she may be getting the support of those same people who did last time- she hasn’t necessarily done much for the black community but she sure hasn’t been Jesse Helms either. I don’t think it’s solid support and I think Hagan can get it in her corner, but at this point Hagan doesn’t have a record of really working with or fighting for black leaders on a statewide level so she’s going to need to do more to build credibility there over the next three months.

"I think this standing has a lot more to do with personalities and politics than it does with issues (shocking in an election I know!)"


You can find all the numbers here.

17 comments:

Adrian DeVore said...

How I see it is that both senatorial candidates aren't any good. Either woman has made no effort whatsoever to reach out and engage themselves with voters regardless of race.

As an African-American, I would not vote for Hagan or Dole because they have nothing new to bring to the conversation.

There has to be more than gender for me to vote for Hagan. I found Sen. Dole to be a highly ineffective senator who has done absolutely nothing to improve the lives of North Carolinians. Hagan, on the other hand, hasn't shown anything significant to persuade me on why I should vote for her.I don't even know why she is even running for U.S.Senate in the first place!

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Ditto, Ms. Devore. Neither woman, neither party does anything to support women of color to elective office. Just want your vote and to keep you quiet.

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