Raleigh, N.C. – With Bev Perdue's retirement North Carolina looks to be headed for a closely contested Gubernatorial race this fall. 46% of voters in the state say they are generally leaning toward voting for a Democratic candidate, while 45% say they will vote Republican.
Despite the generic ballot basically being tied Pat McCrory starts out with the lead over 13 different potential Democratic opponents we tested him against, in large part because he has superior name recognition to all of them. McCrory's also popular- 45% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 31% with a negative one and independents see him positively by a 55/25 spread.
By far the strongest Democratic candidate would be Erskine Bowles, who trails McCrory only 44-42 in a hypothetical contest. Bowles notably trails McCrory by only 19 points with whites, a group that Perdue lost by 25 points with in 2008. The only other Democrat to come within single digits of McCrory, and someone who hasn't really received much discussion as a potential candidate, is Senator Kay Hagan. She trails by 7 points at 48-41.