Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Gov's office takes exception to Democratic poll

 I meant to take a blogpost note of an unusual e-mail yesterday from Pearse Edwards, senior advisor to Gov. Bev Perdue, taking issue with a recent polling firm finding that blames Perdue in part for the troubles Democrats are having in this year's election. Edwards objected to Public Policy Polling's conclusions about a relationship between Perdue's job performance and the possibility of Republican gains this fall.

PPP is a Democratic polling firm, which is what makes the response especially interesting. So is the fact that the response to PPP came from the governor's office and not her political committe. First, here's what Tom Jensen of PPP sent out:

A majority of North Carolinians continue to be unhappy with Bev Perdue's job performance and the relationship between that and likely Republican legislative gains this fall shouldn't be underestimated.

Perdue's the face of Democrats in state government and her approval rating continues to languish at 35% with 51% of voters disapproving of her. She's starting to see some improvement in her numbers with her own party's voters, pushing her favor with Democrats to 57%. But she continues to be toxic with independents at a 25/64 approval spread and whatever limited appeal she may have ever had to Republicans is gone. Only 8% of them like the job she's doing.

When you have a highly unpopular Governor that's going to take a toll on your party's legislative candidates and Republicans continue to hold a 50-42 lead on the generic legislative ballot. That's fueled mainly by a 50-27 advantage with independents and an incredible degree of GOP unity. While 17% of Democrats say they're planning to support Republican candidates this fall, only 2% of Republicans say they'll go back in the other direction and vote Democratic.

If Republicans really do end up having an 8% advantage on the legislative vote in November they will almost definitely gain control of both the House and the Senate. But many legislative Democrats have a long history of outperforming the general leanings of their districts and if that remains the case again this year the party could narrowly retain control.

Back to Perdue's numbers- while her approval rating is better than it has been some months over the last year and a half what might be most distressing for her is that just 18% of voters in the state think she's improved on her first year performance during her second year in the Governor's mansion. 27% they think she's gotten worse and 55% feel she's doing about the same, which is not a good sign given how dimly voters viewed her after year one. Part of her problem may be a failure to communicate with average voters. 48% think her communications efforts have been ineffective while only 36% think she's doing a good job on that front.

Perdue still has time to rehabilitate her image for her own reelection campaign but it looks like it's too late for her to be anything but a liability for Democratic candidates across the state this fall.

See the rest of the poll and the analysis at http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2010/10/perdue-drag-on-nc-democrats.html

That led to Edwards' response to Jensen and Dean Debnam, CEO of the firm. Edwards, a savvy political communications and policy advisor whose family has strong ties to N.C. politics and business, was hired earlier this year to help Perdue get her message and her proposals across to policymakers as well as to constituents.  Here's Edwards' response :

We believe your analysis of these numbers is not only unfair but wrong.

 Gov. Perdue’s net job approval has improved by five percentage points since May, according to PPP’s own surveys. Her support among Democrats has increased by 18 points.

 Those same polls show that the support for Democrats in legislative races has remained the same.

 Voters are not angry with Democrats. They are not angry with any one party. They are angry with incumbents, period, and that anger shows in polls nationwide. It’s easy to draw a bull’s eye on the one person in power who is seen all the time. Why do they see Bev Perdue? Because she gets out of Raleigh – out of the capital – in the streets talking to real people and working to create jobs and make North Carolina’s economy better for the people.

Here are the numbers that matter:

* North Carolina ranked fourth in the nation for job creation.

*30,000 jobs created and $5.2 Billion in investment.

*As USA Today recently reported, North Carolina is one of a handful of states leading the nation out of the recession, ranking No. 4 for income gains.

*North Carolina has been recognized for the best business climate in the nation.

*CNBC declared North Carolina No. 4 among the Top States for Business this year.

*North Carolina was awarded $400 million in the federal “Race to the Top” grant for Gov. Perdue’s innovative “Career and College – Ready, Set, Go!” education initiative.

 Nineteen months into the Perdue administration, people are angry because we’re in hard times. But times would be harder without Gov. Perdue’s unflinching commitment to growing jobs and making North Carolina better place to live and work.

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