North Carolina: Johnson Poll Shows 8th District Race Tightening

Posted September 8, 2010 at 11:32am

The polling war in North Carolina’s 8th district continued Wednesday with a new survey from Republican Harold Johnson’s campaign showing the former sportscaster down just 5 points to freshman Rep. Larry Kissell (D).

Johnson’s poll, which was in the field Aug. 29-30, showed Kissell with 39 percent to Johnson’s 34 percent, with the remaining 27 percent either undecided or favoring Libertarian Thomas Hill. The gap between Johnson and Kissell was just outside the survey’s 4.9 point margin of error.

The poll of 400 likely 8th district voters was conducted for Johnson by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies.

The results paint a very different picture of the race than a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll from Aug. 25-29 that showed Kissell ahead 48 percent to 36 percent for Johnson. And just two weeks ago, Kissell’s campaign released an internal poll that showed the Congressman up 49 percent to 32 percent. That survey was in the field Aug. 19-24.

Johnson’s new internal poll showed that he was viewed favorably by 33 percent of voters and unfavorably by 13 percent. Kissell’s August poll put Johnson’s favorable/unfavorable rating at 32 percent to 25 percent.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Seré said Wednesday that Johnson’s new survey clearly shows that the 8th district race is a “tossup” with less than two months to go before Election Day.

And although the NRCC has yet to reserve television air time in the 8th district or include Johnson in the top tier of it’s Young Guns candidate ranking system, Seré seemed to indicate that both those things could soon change.

“We think it’s a very competitive race,” Seré said. “We are prepared to do everything we can do to help Harold Johnson win. … We are confident that Harold is doing everything necessary to put himself on a path toward Young Guns status.”

North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Andrew Whalen dismissed Johnson’s latest survey results.

“Every poll conducted in this race thus far has shown Congressman Kissell with a sizable lead and that’s because Larry Kissell is fighting to protect North Carolina jobs and standing up for North Carolina families,” Whalen said. “As even Harold Johnson’s poll show, Larry Kissell is going to be re-elected this November to continue fighting for North Carolina families.”