#NCSEN Team Harris releases internal polling

pollsSo far, we’ve seen data mostly from PPP, Elon and the newcomer American Insights. The campaign of US Senate Republican hopeful Mark Harris has released the results of some internal polling on the race conducted late last week by an unnamed pollster.  The poll supports earlier statements by Harris consultant Tom Perdue that there is no clear frontrunner in the GOP primary.  

The campaign did not release cross-tabs or the text of the poll questions. Here are some of the highlights:

The Survey Toplines:
  • ·         700 NC registered republican and unaffiliated voters. 
  • ·         Margin of error of +/- 3.7%.  Poll was completed Thursday night of last week.
  • ·         82% republican and 18% unaffiliated voters for the survey.
  • ·         Gender split 344 male and 356 female.
  • ·         The Republican voters have voted in at least three of the last four primaries and a high percentage (78%) voted for the Marriage Amendment.
  • ·         The unaffiliated voters move from party to party to support a candidate they prefer and a high percentage of them (55%) also voted for the Marriage Amendment. 
  • ·         12% of all respondents identified as African American; 3% as Asian or other; and 85% as white.
  • ·         Fifty-two percent were over 50 years of age and 48% were from 22 to 49.   
  • ·         Some additional highlights:  Harris name ID:  Positive 28%; Negative 7%, Tillis Name ID:  Positive 41%; Negative 18%. 
  • ·         Asked who they preferred to win/would vote for in the GOP Primary:Harris 22%; Tillis 33%; Brannon 12%; all other candidates and undecided 33%.
  • ·         Among active church goers who attend some type religious service at least three times a month, Harris gets 34%; Tillis, 23%; and Brannon  21%.
  • ·         After being told of “character” issues in the race at the end of the survey, the ballot question was asked again. This time Harris was at 38%; Tillis at 27%; and Brannon at 23%. 
  • ·         Asked which candidate would be the strongest against Kay Hagan, Harris was at 36%; Tillis, 39%; and Brannon, 21%.
  • ·         After being told of opponents character issues, as reported by the news media, Harris was at 47%; Tillis at 21%; and Brannon at 26%.

This poll flies in the face of all other recent surveys showing Harris in single digits near the rear of the pack.  Some of the questioning seems to indicate a “push poll” — a highly controversial, but effective campaign tool.  These surveys are more about “pushing” voters in one direction or another regarding certain issues or candidates.

I think it’s interesting that NO ONE between 18 and 21 was polled.  (Most of them have cell phones as their only source of contact — making it harder for them to be reached by pollsters.)  

Eighty-two percent of respondents were Republicans, and TWELVE percent of the respondents were African-American?  Given the racial breakdown in party registration, that seems quite high and unrepresentative.  Is someone seriously suggesting that 12 percent of the primary electorate will be black? 

At least one question in the poll would suggest that Team Harris may be trying to go negative on Speaker Thom.  That would be in line with some of the pastor candidate’s comments in his recent interview with us.

Team Harris seems to be celebrating this poll as an indication of how wide open the race is.  I don’t see the evidence for all of this optimism on their part.  If this survey is valid, it shows Tillis performing much better than in other surveys AND much closer to the magic 40 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff altogether.  

It sounds like a poll that would make Theam Tillis jump for joy. Why hasn’t Theam Tillis released any polling — much less polling that contradicts what PPP & co. have been showing?