A new North Carolina Senate poll from PPP is perhaps the strongest indication yet that voters are not just in an anti-Democratic mood, but honestly in an anti-incumbent mood. Democratic frontrunner Elaine Marshall is way ahead of incumbent Republican Richard Burr among voters who have heard of Marhsall:
Among voters who actually have an opinion of Cal Cunningham or Elaine Marshall- whether it's positive or not- they lead Burr. Cunningham is up 46-44 and Marshall is up 49-40.
That 9% lead for Marshall is actually an under-estimation, given that most voters who don't know Burr are actually Democrats:
Most of the voters with no opinion about Burr are Democrats, which could mean that his approval numbers are even worse than they look.
Elaine Marshall can, and should, win this campaign. Even though she is challenging an incumbent in North Carolina, she is currently polling at a level roughly equal Democratic incumbents in bluer states like Arlen Specter, Michael Bennet and Harry Reid. She is also doing better than Democrats in other purple states, like Florida and New Hampshire, even though those are open seats. And, as the above polling shows, she has a lot of room for growth.
Marshall has the right resume for a Democrat in 2010. Her background is in financial regulations, and her main legislative achievement was pushing the North Carolina legislature to enact tougher anti-lobbying laws. From her website:
The Secretary of State's office today is a key law enforcement agency protecting consumers, investors, and charitable givers against securities fraud and financial scams. Elaine's commitment to protecting investors and combating financial fraud has in just the past year and a half alone lead to the recovery of over $340 million from major Wall Street banks for North Carolina investors and foundations.
Since taking office, Elaine has cut the costs of doing business for companies and individuals -helping small businesses create jobs. She has taken on lobbyists in Raleigh, reforming North Carolina's ethics laws.
Here is to hoping she is willing to run on a populist, anti-Wall Street platform, rather than a more generic anti-big government platform that consumes so many southern Democratic candidates.
Either way, Marhsall is way ahead in the Democratic primary, by 35% according to the most recent poll, and that is a good thing. Her main opponent in the primary, Cal Cunningham, would be another Blanche Lincoln. From a source over email:
Cal just had a fundraiser in DC hosted by a couple of lobbyists one of whom who's proclaims him being a founder of Third Way and involvement with the DLC. The other co-host was Blanche Lincoln's former Chief of Staff. The lobbying firm that held the event, their client roster reads like a who's who of the usual suspects that worked to torpedo HCR (AHIP, Pharma, etc).
Go Marhsall, go!
This is a very winnable Democratic pickup in a purple state in a bad year for Democrats. Further, the strongest Democratic candidate in the general election also happens to be the more progressive candidate in the primary. This is a primary, and a general election, we need to win.