Under the Dome

N.C. has long been prepared for an oil spill

June 14, 2010 

The state's emergency response officials have had an oil spill plan on the books for years and are reviewing it in case oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill makes its way to the North Carolina coast.

Officials believe it's unlikely that very much oil could make it this far north, said Ernie Seneca, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. If oil does make it this far, it would likely be in the form of tar balls.

However, state officials are reviewing the response plan.

"We felt it prudent to look to see whether any revisions were needed because the spill in the Gulf was so unprecedented," Seneca said.

The state has a website that has information about its response plans. Go to http:// nccrimecontrol .org/ and click on "Gulf oil spill."

Officials are planning to brief local officials and lawmakers Tuesday on the state's preparations. Gov. Bev Perdue participated in a briefing last week.

Nowhere near Burr

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr continues to hold a double-digit lead over his potential Democratic rivals, according to a new statewide survey.

A Rasmussen Reports survey shows Burr defeating Democrat Elaine Marshall 50 percent to 36 percent and Democrat Cal Cunningham 47 percent to 35 percent.

Burr has extended his lead from a month ago. Rasmussen found last month that Burr had a 48-40 lead over Marshall and a 50-37 lead over Cunningham.

The survey of 500 likely voters was conducted on June 3. The margin of sampling error was 4.5 percentage points.

The survey also found that 59 percent of North Carolina voters favor repeal of the new health care law, while 34 percent would keep it.

The poll found that 56 percent favor state adoption of a tough immigration law like Arizona's.

Preferred, disapproved

Meanwhile, a second poll shows Burr lengthening his lead over his prospective Democratic opponents.

Burr leads Marshall 46 percent to 39 percent, and he leads Cunningham by a 46 percent to 35 percent, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling.

The same polling firm a month ago found Burr statistically even with Marshall at 43 percent to 42 percent and slightly ahead of Cunningham at 44 percent to 39 percent.

The survey found that 74 percent of North Carolina voters were unsure of their opinions of Cunningham and 62 percent were unsure of Marshall.

Burr's job approval ratings are mediocre. The survey found 35 percent approve of the job Burr is doing, compared to 37 percent who disapprove.

Those figures are similar to numbers for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Thirty-four percent approve of the job she is doing and 39 percent disapprove.

The survey of 601 voters from June 4-6 had a margin of sampling error of 3.9 percentage points.

All publicity good?

When you're running a campaign for Congress on a shoestring budget, any recognition is good recognition, right?

And so George Hutchins, Republican also-ran for the U.S. House seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price, should be happy about the notice he got from a Washington-based Web development and communications firm: Ugliest political website.

At a recent conference, panelists from the Bivings Group presented their choices for the best and worst political sites. A blog post categorized Hutchins' site as one "you have to see to believe."

Dome hasn't surfed over to Hutchins site in a while, and we were pleased to note that the site hasn't lost any of its content. Hutchins has updated it since the primary. He thanked the 1,099 voters who chose him. (According to State Board of Elections results, he got 1,077 votes.) He also offered a prediction:

"DAVID PRICE WILL DEFEAT FAKE REPUBLICAN GAY MARRIAGE SUPPORTER RINO NOMINEE."

You heard it here, folks.

By staff writers Benjamin Niolet and Rob Christensen.

ben.niolet@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4521

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