The Campaign Spot

Bob Etheridge Now Trailing?

Much more on this in a bit: Among voters in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, Republican Renee Ellmers 39 percent, Democrat incumbent Bob Etheridge 38 percent, Libertarian Tom Rose 15 percent, and 11 percent undecided.

UPDATE: This is a district where Obama’s approval is at 38 percent and disapproval is at 55 percent. Civitas finds that 84 percent of voters in the district heard about the shoving incident; 45 percent of these said it made them less likely to support Etheridge, 14 percent said more likely, and 39 percent said no difference. 

ANOTHER UPDATE: I like the guys at Public Policy Polling, but I think they have a soft spot for North Carolina Democrats. They declare this to be

Etheridge’s low water mark. If he’s only down by a point after what will certainly be the worst week of the campaign for him he’ll probably be fine this fall even if his winning margin might not match some of the lopsided victories he’s posted in his last few campaigns.

Way too optimistic for Etheridge, I think. Shouldn’t a safe seven-term incumbent like Etheridge have more than a 26 percent favorable rating? In this poll, 34 percent describe themselves as more likely to vote for an Obama health-care-bill supporter like Etheridge, 53 percent say “less likely.” (Yes, Etheridge voted yes on Obamacare.) On TARP, it’s 16 percent more likely, 61 percent less likely. It’s not just the shove that’s hurting him.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader in Etheridge’s district weighs in:

I’m a long-time reader who practices law in Lillington, which is in the heart of Etheridge’s district . . .  I saw the comments you posted by Etheridge supporters in the N&O, and I recognized several of the posters . . .  As insane as those comments are, they are not entirely out of line with the views of this district. This is a district where the “he needed killin’” defense is an affirmative defense and a not-infrequently successful one.  Neck-grabbing some college kid for asking you a question might pass for appropriate behavior here.

It’s still too early to tell. It’s true that Obama is seen very unfavorably, but a lot of people seem to like Etheridge. However, it’s worth noting that his supporters have kept their mouths shut this week while everybody else made fun of Etheridge, and that his opponent seems to have stepped up her presence in the last 48 hours. Her signs are slowly filling in the spaces next to his.

If I had to guess, I’d guess that Etheridge narrowly survives this November. But if there’s a true Republican wave, as is indicated by the recent polling in those 70 swing districts, Etheridge will be taken down by it. Anyway, that’s the view among his constituents, as of today, so far as I can tell.  


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