Santa Claus may have checked his list to see who was naughty or nice before delivering Christmas presents, but for North Carolina's politicos it's not up to Saint Nick -- it's up to the voters.
While the political campaign teams claim their polling results show their candidates leading, according to the independent NCRepublicans.com, Fred Smith won their gubernatorial straw poll. The results show Smith 62.5%, Bob Orr 22.7%, and Bill Graham 14.8%.
However, internal polling by the Graham camp's McLaughlin & Associates is being used to to declare Bill Graham, a practicing attorney, as "the clear frontrunner." The McLaughlin & Associates poll claims Graham has a double-digit lead over his opponents who only score in the single digits.
Meanwhile, in a straw poll conducted during the Civitas Institute’s Conservative Leadership Conference, 34.8 percent of the 400-plus attendees favored Rudy Giuliani for President and 62 percent favored Fred Smith for Governor.
Twelve Republican presidential candidates were listed on the straw poll ballot. Rudi Giuliani came in first (34.8%), followed by Fred Thompson (23%), Newt Gingrich (14.2%), Mike Huckabee (8.4%), Mitt Romney (7.1%), Tom Tancredo (5.2%), Duncan Hunter (2.6%), Ron Paul (2.6%), Tommy Thompson (1%), John McCain (1%), Sam Brownback (0%) and Jim Gilmore (0%).
On the Republican gubernatorial straw poll ballot [three candidates were listed]:
Fred Smith (62%) [finished] first, followed by Bob Orr (24%) and Bill Graham (9%).The Conservative Leadership Conference is a two-day event conducted annually by the Civitas Institute to instruct and energize North Carolina conservatives.
Smith -- a state senator, an entrepreneur and businessman -- lays out his vision for North Carolina’s future on his campaign web site. Smith's vision includes controlling government spending, reforming education, protecting private property rights, defending marriage between one man and one woman, protecting NC children with the strongest possible Jessica’s Law and bringing back integrity to state government.
Smith said he welcomes the continuing conversation with North Carolina’s citizens as his campaign moves forward. “I believe that North Carolina’s best days lie ahead -- our challenge is to learn from those who came before and continue to work to make our state great,” he said.
While internal polling data by the Orr and Graham campaigns shows them leading, a recent Republican Party tracking poll shows otherwise:
Governor without McCrory:
Fred Smith 25%
Bill Graham 17%
Bob Orr 6%
Governor with McCrory:
Fred Smith 20%
Bill Graham 14%
Pat McCrory 14%
Bob Orr 4%
According to the pollsters, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory would start with a strong regional base but little statewide support if he got into the Republican race for Governor. The tracking poll, however bodes well for Sen. Smith with or without Mayor McGrory, but each of the NC gubernatorial tracking polls shows a significant number of undecided voters who may be ripe for the picking by a candidate who can fire up the potential voters.
Fred Smith's rise in the polls coincides almost exactly with the launch of his Statewide BBQ tour, according to North Carolina political observer and blogger Lorie Byrd.
"He had 21 events across the state in August and September, then 23 during October alone. It's not like hundreds of people are turning out to these things but it's generating a lot of good small town press coverage and ingratiating him to party activists," she said.
"During that time Bill Graham has done...well...not much unless I'm missing something. Smith really seems to be outworking Graham and it's being reflected in the polls."
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.