As Jazz Shaw noted, the early voting breakdowns out of North Carolina are hard to peg as positive for either Republicans or Democrats. The state maintains a significant number of legacy Democrats who increasingly vote Republican on the statewide and federal level, but the ascendant coalition of young people, single women, and minorities have given Democrats more than a fighting chance in the Tar Heel state in recent cycles. The early vote is certainly not a sign that Republicans should despair, but they are not especially promising either.
Barack Obama isn’t taking any chances. In a last minute pitch to partisan Democrats, Barack Obama recorded an automatic message in which he noted that Kay Hagan stands with him and you should, too.
Mediaite has the audio of the call, but the transcript is below:
“North Carolina, we need to send a message this election. If you want to make a difference, here is your chance: Vote for Democrats and Sen. Kay Hagan on November 4th. You know Kay Hagan has been tirelessly creating job opportunities here at home and supporting a higher minimum wage. But Republicans have been cutting investments in education while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy, so let’s send them a message by voting for someone who shares our priorities. Voting is easy, so stand with me, President Obama, and take responsibility in moving North Carolina forward by voting for Kay Hagan on November 4th. A Senator you can count on.”
That’s funny. Conservative groups have been targeting North Carolina voters with a nearly identical message:
Hagan, for her part, knows that the president is not a popular figure in her state. The Huffington Post’s poll tracker pegs Obama’s job approval rating in the Tar Heel State at just 40.3 percent – 13.3 points underwater.
Hagan has had a tightrope to walk and, to her credit, she has done a fairly adept job of straddling the line between distancing herself from the drag on her party in the White House and not alienating Obama’s committed supporters whom she needs if she is going to win tonight.
Take Hagan’s mealy-mouthed response when repeatedly probed on whether Obama is a “strong leader.”
Hardly a ringing endorsement, but it’s the cross Hagan has had to bear this cycle. If she wins, and the election modelers believe she has a good chance of surviving the wrath of the voters this evening, Hagan deserves credit for successfully navigating a difficult political environment.