WFAE's political analyst Michael Bitzer has been joining Morning Edition Host Duncan McFadyen most Fridays. He's a political scientist at Catawba College in Salisbury. They spoke on the final Friday before the November 2012 election to take one last look at various races in North Carolina.
MCFADYEN: So, the election’s just a few days away now. Are you ready for this all to be over?
BITZER: (laughing) If this thing goes beyond November 7th, I’m going to find a bunker somewhere and try and steal myself away. I think that recent video clip of the poor little girl crying; she was tired of the election. We’re all tired of it, and we’re ready for it to be over and done with.
MCFADYEN: That goes for those of us in the media as well. But first, a final look at the state of things…
North Carolina’s newly redrawn congressional particularly in the 8th District now represented by conservative Democrat Larry Kissell. Parts of Rowan and Davidson counties---which had been represented by Howard Coble---have been added, and now Kissell is getting a very serious challenge from Republican Richard Hudson.
Here’s what Hudson had to say about campaigning in those new areas:
RICHARD HUDSON: I would start out by saying “they’ve moved Howard Coble out of the county. I’m Richard Hudson, I’m running for congress… because if I started out just saying I was running for congress, they assumed I was running against Howard, and they didn’t want to talk to me.”
MCFADYEN: Meanwhile Kissell is out knocking out doors, reminding voters that the issues in his OLD district…
CONGRESSMAN LARRY KISSELL: They don’t’ stop at t district line. The same policies that took our jobs away from the places in the old 8th district are the same policies that affected these people up here.
MCFADYEN: How much trouble is Larry Kissell in?
BITZER: I think he’s one of the most endangered Democrats in the entire country. Both Hudson and Kissell and having to introduce themselves to new voters who normally would expect to vote for Howard Coble. For new candidates to be in these areas, and it makes it that much more difficult to think for somebody like Larry Kissell, because he doesn’t have that connection to the voters that he normally would’ve had in the old areas of his district.
MCFADYEN: The latest poll we have of the state of the presidential race in North Carolina was released this week by Public Policy Polling out of Raleigh. It has the president and Mitt Romney neck and neck.
BITZER: It’s 49, 49 with basically nobody undecided at this point.
MCFADYEN: So what does that mean for Tuesday?
BITZER: It is so tight that I would be doubtful that anybody, with assuredness, could call this election. It’s all dependent on turnout.
MCFADYEN: Speaking of turnout, what are the latest numbers form early voting?
BITZER: In North Carolina we’ve seen an increase of well over 150,000 more votes cast than what we saw this same time period in 2008. It is certainly expanding the electorate, but this past week has kind of leveled off and in fact even dropped in comparison to the numbers that we saw in ‘08. So, we’ll probably have 60 percent of the votes cast done before Election Day. But, this last push of voters before next Tuesday is going to be incumbent upon both campaigns and the ground games are in full operation. Democrats are showing up, but Republicans learned their lessons from 08, and they are showing up in record numbers.
MCFADYEN: This is our last conversation before Election Day, so I have to ask for a few predictions here.
BITZER: Presidential, I think nationally it is just absolutely a coin toss. Tell me what Ohio does and I can pretty much see a path for either candidate in terms of winning the White House. Here in North Carolina, I still have to believe that there’s a slight edge for Romney and Republican side. But the numbers have just tightened up. The early numbers seemed to indicate a slightly older electorate than what we saw in ‘08, so I would have to think that would benefit the Republicans.