CHARLOTTE – Much of the Old North State has little concern for who the mayor of Charlotte is, but in the last several years leaders of the Queen City have had a large influence on state, and even national politics.
One term Republican Governor Pat McCrory was a seven-term mayor of Charlotte. The current lame duck mayor, Democrat Jennifer Roberts, was at the center of the controversial city ordinance to punish private businesses for not allowing men into women’s bathrooms, resulting in House Bill 2 and the subsequent national controversy about transgender ‘rights.’
Early voting is currently underway and after election day Charlotte will have a new mayor, whether it be Democrat Vi Lyles or Republican Kenny Smith.
After Jennifer Roberts abysmal performance in the post, and recent history of electing Republican mayors (McCrory), it might be expected that the Democratic candidate is at a disadvantage.
A new poll conducted by Spectrum News and SurveyUSA has the race deadlocked at 41 to 40 percent with Lyles slightly ahead. While that is not terribly surprising, some of the poll results are interesting from a partisan and a generational perspective.
Republicans favor Smith by 14 more points than Democrats favor Lyles. Smith also captures 12 percent of Democrat voters, compared to Lyles earning only six percent of Republicans.
Moreover, Smith, the Republican, sports a 30 point lead over Lyles with Millennial voters. That is a lead one might expect the Democrat to be commanding with the 18-34 year old demographic, but Smith has flipped it in his favor.
Millennials are often painted with a broad brush in many ways, but the younger cohort leaning to the left politically is accepted as a basic truth.
After all, younger people have more naive and fanciful views of society (witness any young Bernie Sanders supporter) and have a limited experience with taxes and family responsibility that enables them to accept Leftist view points about fairness and ‘the rich.’ They are also more inclined to be socially liberal, especially in a urban environment such as Charlotte.
So as the Charlotte mayoral race goes down to the wire with election day approaching, a Republican victory may not be all that surprising. But the makeup of the voter coalition that could put Smith in office may offer insights about the changing views of certain demographics.
If Millennials do indeed swing for Smith in a big way, it could signal unexpected changes in future elections around the state and country.