As the candidates prepare for this weeks gubernatorial debate, Republican Pat McCrory leads Democratic rival Walter Dalton by a double-digit margin, according to a poll released Friday.
The National Research Inc. poll commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute showed McCrory at 49 percent and Dalton at 38 percent. The groups two earlier polls from May and July showed roughly equal support for the two candidates.
Libertarian Barbara Howe received 2 percent and about 9 percent were undecided. The polls margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percent.
Conducted Sept. 18-19, the survey came after the first week of Daltons TV advertising campaign and a month after McCrory went on the air. But it is consistent with a new NBC/Marist poll conducted days later showing a bigger McCrory lead.
It shows 38 percent of McCrorys support is definite, compared to 33 percent for Dalton, suggesting a bit of wiggle room in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Three of the last four polls in the race, dating back to late August, also gave McCrory a double-digit advantage. The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed the race at 6 percent in early September.
In national publications
As it has all year, The Washington Posts The Fix continues to rate North Carolina as the most likely governors seat to change party hands in November.
McCrory leads Dalton 52 to 39 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, reinforcing his control over this race, which is still the best Republican pickup opportunity this cycle, The Fix writes. McCrory was outspent by Perdue in 2008, but kept the race within 4 points. This cycle, an early start has helped him dwarf Daltons fundraising.
Meanwhile, New York Times political blogger and polling aggregator Nate Silver puts North Carolina as favoring President Barack Obama for the first time this year, based on what he calls a streak of stronger polling for the president here.
Still, Silver expects the numbers to shift by election day, and forecasts that Mitt Romney will edge him out in N.C. in November.
Silvers blog, FiveThirtyEight, gives Obama a 52.5 percent to 46.5 percent lead in the total U.S. popular vote, based on current measures. He forecasts the final vote at 51.5 percent versus 47.4 percent, giving Obama 319.3 electoral votes and Romney 218.7.
TV attack ad debunked
A new attack ad stretches to link Republican Pat McCrory to the GOP legislatures $336 million tax cut for some businesses, a loophole added at the last minute in the 2011 budget.
The N.C. Citizens for Progress TV commercial started Friday, funded by the Democratic Governors Association. It details a tax cut GOP lawmakers described as a small-business tax cut that actually will give a roughly $3,500 break to equity partners in even the wealthiest practices, such as lawyers, doctors and lobbyists, despite a budget that included education cuts and led to teacher layoffs.
But the ad stretches the extent of the tax break and doesnt include the nuance necessary to describe it accurately. For instance, the tax break doesnt go to all corporations, as the text of the ad suggests, but only to S corporations where income is divided among partners who report it on their personal income taxes.
And the ad stretches (too far at times) to link the Republican gubernatorial nominee to the fray. The ad correctly notes that partners in McCrorys law firm, Moore & Van Allen, who each made $855,000 in 2011, will receive the tax break.
But McCrory wont get the same break through the law firm, as the ad attempts to insinuate, because he is not a partner. He may get the tax break through his other entities, including McCrory & Co., but its unclear if he does so.
The claim that this is what you get with Pat McCrory is also dubious. McCrory did support the GOP budget in 2011, but the line seems to suggest McCrory played a larger role than he did. Asked about the tax break by The N&O, McCrory dodged answering the question.
Democrat Walter Dalton proposes capping the tax break to only small-business owners and using the extra money to pay for his economic and education proposals.
Pope talks to protesters
A group of protesters who showed up to a Civitas Institute luncheon that featured a speech by Art Pope got an unexpected surprise.
Before the event at a downtown Raleigh hotel, Pope greeted protesters and took questions.
Watch the video, courtesy of Civitas, as Pope is pressed on his financial contribution to political causes, his stance on public education and charter schools, and is asked to resign from his role on a new UNC advisory board: bit.ly/VQD0QX.
Staff writers John Frank and Austin Baird
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