Burr expected to surpass Marshall in Senate election

Richard Burr

The North Carolina Senate race between North Carolina Secretary of State Democrat Elaine Marshall and incumbent Republican Senator Richard Burr is expected to yield a Republican victory.

Public Policy Polling’s final poll for the North Carolina Senate election shows Burr leading Marshall 52 to 40 percent. Burr is garnering a larger bipartisan support with 22 percent of the Democratic vote, while Marshall attracted only 6 percent of Elaine Marshallthe Republican vote.

Republicans are predicted to have an advantage in this year’s election season. Gallup’s final poll anticipates a 15 percent lead for Republicans among likely voters.

After a party is in power for two years, midterms usually favor the opposition party, said Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“It’s a Republican moment right now in the election cycle,” Guillory said. “[But] Senator Burr has benefited from both his own hard work in preparing for the campaign and executing the campaign.”

Senator Burr’s predicted advantage has been partially attributed to his ability to raise more money than Marshall.

The News and Observer reported earlier this month that the Burr campaign had raised $10.6 million during the campaign— $8.3 million more than his opponent.

Marshall’s more limited campaign funds were partly a result of the national Democratic party’s lack of financial support.

In 2008, the party funneled $11 million into Senator Kay Hagan’s campaign to defeat incumbent Elizabeth Dole, but North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman David Young said there are too many close races against Republican incumbents to expect for Marshall to be heavily supported by the national party.

Guillory noted that the North Carolina Senate race is not a high priority for the national Democratic party, adding that the party originally supported Cal Cunningham over Marshall in the primary.

Young said he has confidence in Marshall’s ability to win the election because of her focus on issues North Carolina voters care about.

“This is a turnout election,” Young said. “We’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of resources so I think we will win this election.”

Young added that polling is hardly an accurate indicator of political success in a place like North Carolina.

“North Carolina’s really breaking the trend,” he said. “We far exceeded the early voting predictions and we think that will continue [on November 2].”

Even though Burr has been favored to win the election since the beginning, the Burr campaign refuses to take anything for granted.

Samantha Smith, communications director for Senator Burr, expects a tight race.

“Given North Carolina’s rich history of close races, we won’t think anything until the polls close,” she said. “We’re doing all we can to get out the vote.”

Guillory said although he expects the election results to tip in favor of Burr, the race will be close. Marshall is going to receive a large amount of votes, he said, adding that Democratic candidates in North Carolina typically get at least 45 percent of the vote.

“Even when [Democrats] lose, the race is close,” Guillory said. “I would not be surprised if it was a lot closer than what the polls are predicting.”


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