Election news in the Carolinas

North Carolinians have a more favorable impression of John McCain than Barack Obama, according to a new Elon University poll.

The survey, which interviewed 411 N.C. adults Sept. 15-18, showed 54 percent of respondents having a favorable impression of GOP presidential candidate McCain, with 37 percent saying the same of Democratic candidate Obama. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin got a 49 percent favorable rating compared with 41 percent for Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden.

In the poll, which did not measure registered or likely voters, more N.C. residents said they plan to support the Republican Party (41 percent) than the Democratic Party (36 percent) in the November election. Almost 21 percent were undecided or didn't know.

In the governor's race, more respondents said they would support the Republican Party (37 percent) than the Democratic Party (35 percent). Respondents were not asked about voting for specific candidates in any race.

In the N.C. race for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Kay Hagan was seen slightly more favorably (47 percent) than Republican Elizabeth Dole (45 percent), and 51 percent said it was time for a new person to have a chance to represent the state in the Senate.

The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Peter St. Onge

Group's voter rolls face RNC counsel's criticism

A national Republican Party official blasted a grass-roots organizing group Friday after an N.C. newspaper reported possible fraud in voter registration forms.

RNC chief counsel Sean Cairncross called the group, known as ACORN, a “quasi-criminal Democrat-affiliated organization that willfully and openly breaks the law … and constitutes a threat to public safety.”

The Durham Herald-Sun reported that the Durham County elections director had asked state officials to check about 80 voter registration forms for possible fraud. The story said most of the forms had one of six names. Elections officials said they weren't sure whether the people existed or not.

Brian Mellor, attorney for ACORN, said the group has “a comprehensive quality control system in place.”

“We hire hundreds of employees and whenever you hire hundreds of employees, you're bound to have a few bad apples,” he said, adding that there would be no point to register fictitious people.

Jim Morrill