RALEIGH – Republican Dan Forest may have received quite a bit more votes than Roy Cooper did when the former was running for reelection to lieutenant governor and the latter for governor in 2016, but a recent poll of what many expect to be the head to head match up for governor in 2020 doesn’t paint a very rosy picture for the two-term lieutenant governor.
The Civitas Institute commissioned a poll conducted by Harper Polling earlier this month that, among other questions, pits Forest against Cooper in a 2020 race for governor.
Ouch. The top line numbers by Forest down by 10 percent, and taken at face value should be lighting a fire under the Forest campaign. BUT considering that people like President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager think that polling is dead, it may be worth taking a deeper look at these numbers.
Right off the bat, the margin of error should be taken into account. With a sample size of 500 ‘likely voters’ the polls margin of error stands at 4.38%. That means, with the same sample, the Cooper lead could be as low as around 5% or pushed to nearly 15%.
Further, than that, the construct of the polling sample seems a bit suspect.
The number of female respondents are at least a few points higher than the average for North Carolina, at 54 vs 51 percent.
Again, something seems off here. Do we honestly think 18 to 34 year old voters are going to make up 17 percent of the electorate in 2020, a full point more than 55 to 64 year old voters? That seems quite unlikely.
I’m no polling expert, but considering the recent (in)accuracy of statewide and national political polls, these should be taken with a grain of salt. However, they shouldn’t be discounted outright. Governor Roy Cooper has had the benefit of a friendly media to bolster his image among those in major media markets, and that home court advantage will only ramp up into election day. Despite his hard left agenda, pandering to social justice warriors, apparent corruption scandals, and incompetence in core duties, the media presents him as a moderate, nice-guy governor just worried about kids’ education.
Not that the uphill climb against media bias is anything new for Republicans, but President Trump has demonstrated that one of the most effective ways to deal with it is a direct attack. Forest is going to have to draw up a strong offense to make his case and overcome the inherent media bias if even the sketchy poll numbers are to shift in his direction.
Otherwise, the bad polls could open the door just enough for a moderate Republican challenger, and the Establishment that powers them, to walk right through for a primary challenge.