October 11, 2004


Polls show Bowles' once-significant lead is gone (ROB CHRISTENSEN AND DAN KANE, Staff Writers, Oct 11, 2004, Charlotte News & Observer)

The evidence continues to pile up that North Carolina's Senate race is as tight as Otis Campbell, the town drunk in the fictional TV town of Mayberry.
The most recent example was a poll conducted by GOP pollster Linda DiVall showing Republican Richard Burr leading Democrat Erskine Bowles by a 47-45 margin -- well within the 4 percent margin of error.

It is the third poll taken during the past two weeks showing that Bowles' once-significant lead has evaporated. The others were conducted by Mason Dixon, Survey USA and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The polls suggest that Burr has made up the most ground in Eastern North Carolina among conservative Democrats -- those who used to be called Jessecrats because they voted for Sen. Jesse Helms.

Bowles is being pummeled by advertising in Eastern North Carolina. Not only is Burr running a TV ad tying Bowles to former President Bill Clinton, but Burr has been running a radio ad raising questions about where Bowles stands on homosexual marriages.

The ineptitude of the Kerry campaign is amply demonstrated by the fact that having John Edwards campaign with him would probably hurt Mr. Bowles.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2004 2:50 PM

Perhaps this instead indicates that a nuanced libel can not do anything else but run an inept campaign in most parts of the U.S. They are just on the wrong side of too many issues.

Posted by: jd watson at October 11, 2004 3:24 PM

Love the Otis reference.

Posted by: pchuck at October 11, 2004 3:56 PM

Maybe if the Democratiic nominee would run the final three weeks of his campaign as "Erskine T. Bass" he could liven things up a little bit for the Carolina electorate (and give glass window replacement firms all over the Tar Heel state a boost in business, I suppose).

Posted by: John at October 11, 2004 4:01 PM

Andy Griffith is a Democrat; perhaps they could have talked him into making a run (the NC Dems for years tried to get Dean Smith to run against Jesse Helms, but he refused, knowing that his extreme liberalism would cost him and his team fan support).

Posted by: AC at October 11, 2004 4:04 PM


Well, that would explain why he was the only coach in basketball who could hold Michael Jordan under 20 points a game...

Posted by: mike earl at October 11, 2004 4:20 PM


You're dating yourself. I remember the broken window episode (hilarious), but can't remember Ernest T.'s motive. Did he get jilted?

At least Otis had the keys to the jail cell. Methinks Southern Democrats are permanently locked in to a losing position.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 11, 2004 4:20 PM

Andy! Andy! can I put my bullet in my gun.

Posted by: h-man at October 11, 2004 4:36 PM

All these polls...up, down, conflicting, have brought me to the conclusion that none of them are to be trusted this year. I mean why would anyone believe any poll when you can't even trust one damn thing out of the media's mouth. The MSM has one last weapon to save the Dems this year, and the polls appear to be it.

Posted by: BJW at October 11, 2004 4:40 PM

Bowles' early lead was entirely due to name recognition. There is no single large metro area in the state, so it takes time for someone whose career is entirely based in one of them to become known across the state.

Burr has started doing that and he should win by a healthy margin as he is a pretty representative NC Republican and the state is trending in that direction. It doesn't hurt him that Bush will win the state by a substantial margin.

Posted by: Bart at October 11, 2004 6:13 PM


They are able to produce any result they want just by playing with the % of Republicans, Democrats and Independents they poll.

Posted by: oj at October 11, 2004 7:42 PM

If The Raleigh News & Observer is showing the race is close, then Burr must be winning in a blowout.

Posted by: Bart at October 11, 2004 8:01 PM

Fred --

I believe Ernest T. was jilted by the United States Army in the episode that triggered his glass breaking rampage.

Were that John F. Kerry had limited his tantrums against the military an assault on transparant silicate instead of an assault on his fellow soldiers and sailors, he'd probably have a much better chance of being president now, though in terms of actual personality, the Democrat Mr. Bass reminds me of most is one James T. Carvelle (I mean, really, how hard is it to imagine him going on Russert's show one Sunday morning saying "It's me! It's me! It's Jimmy T!"?).

Posted by: John at October 11, 2004 10:43 PM

The name of the paper is the Raleigh News & Observer. Not "Charlotte News & Observer."

Posted by: Tomas at October 12, 2004 7:42 AM