November, 2014

When it comes to the election of 2014, we are going to see a close correlation between polling numbers for the Affordable Care Act and for Sen. Kay Hagan. Last summer when Moral Monday events were feeding the press, everyone in the state was angry at the actions of the NCGA. Hagan’s numbers were high. Now, with the news concerned only with what is happening in Washington and local Republicans out of the headlines, that anger has faded, and with it her poll numbers.

It remains to be seen if that anger will flare again with the beginning of the short session. Legislators will want to raise teachers’ salaries and go home as soon as possible. In the meantime, expect to see a continuation of anti-Obamacare TV spots as conservative groups play their only card--again, and again, and again. Hagan could be helped by a successful HKonJ this coming Saturday, especially if the movement continues to spread it’s message to locations around the state. Citizens who watched NCGA activities last summer were not happy. Especially in regards to the Motorcycle Vagina bill, where even those who favored the bill were angered by the sneaky techniques used to pass it.

What could also help Senator Hagan’s campaign are the 60% of people who support an increase in the minimum wage and the 65% who want to continue unemployment benefits. Being able to tout a successful passage of these two things through Congress, could put her just enough votes above her Republican opponent to win the November election.

When it comes to her opponent, the primary will tell us who it will be. Tillis still doesn’t have the name recognition the GOP would hope for in a Republican candidate, as only 1/3 of Republicans voters have ever heard of him. Of those who do know of him, he might be hard pressed to win the 40% of primary votes necessary to take the nomination outright. He could face a run-off election which would eat up valuable time and money for campaigning against Hagan.

If Tillis does win the primary (and does not resign his seat to campaign) the state may be faced with a working Speaker of the House who is soliciting campaign contributions while leading the legislature. The ethics of this is questionable.

With control of the US Senate hanging in the balance outside money will play a big roll in November. The biggest source of news for NC voters remains their local TV stations. The only thing profitable to come out of the next election may well be their ad revenues.

Comments

Astute commentary

Well said.

And by the way, Tillis has already been soliciting campaign $ as a sitting Speaker of the House. To the extent that it would be illegal if he were begging for $ for his current seat. It's a loophole that he can ask people with pending legislation in front of him for $ because it's for a federal, not state office. And it's deplorable.

More at BackwardNC.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

HDTV transition and "local news"

I think the Dems in the state need to take a hard, close look at what sources for local and state news are actually being used around the state by voters and rethink their strategies.

In urban and suburban areas, there's been the rise of the Internet, which is eating away at broadcast television and cable. You can still reach a large audience with tv buys, but that audience is smaller and different as many younger people and professionals "cut the cord" or just don't bother with broadcast television.

The real wild card in advertising for political races are rural areas. I really haven't seen anyone doing a close analysis of how media access in these areas has changed over the past few years in the state.

Internet access is more expensive and limited. Cable, the most common way that most viewers get local tv stations, also varies in many rural areas. With the declining economy, some households have been cutting off or cutting back on cable service.

Another thing that's changed is access to local broadcast channels through antennas. Before the transition from analogue television, the stations in the Charlotte and Triad areas could easily be received throughout western North Carolina, all the way up to the Virginia/Tennessee border, and Raleigh stations all around the eastern part of the state.

That's no longer the case. Stations shifted to UHF channels that are not as easily received. In some areas, viewers might catch one channel or even none at all.

I suspect that voters in rural areas over the past decade have seen their choices dwindling for state news and may be relying more on local radio, newspapers, or "word of mouth" for their impressions of what's going on in Raleigh or state-level races.