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More haircut falloff?

July 7, 2007 |  1:19 am

Not such good news for John Edwards from the home state crowd. A new Public Policy Polling survey of North Carolina Democrats shows that a state he once had all-but-locked up is now a tossup, with Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama virtually tied. The usual caveats about polling apply here –- it’s still early, respondents aren’t fully engaged, just a snapshot of opinions at that moment, etc. But still ….

The worst news for Edwards, according to PPP’s Justin Guillory on the poll firm’s blog is that “Democratic Party demographics are against him. Women and African-Americans make up a significant majority of Democratic primary voters. Yet Edwards performs best among men and whites.”

And over the past three PPP polls in North Carolina, beginning in May, Clinton has held steady while Edwards has dropped 7 points and Obama has gone up 7 points. “Not surprisingly Hillary Clinton leads among women and in the last month Obama has seen a surge in African American support. In July he received the support of 59% of blacks polled, fourteen percentage points higher than last month.”

Edwards’ slip in his home state reflects his performance in national polls. PPP thinks the Tar Heel State isn’t lost --  yet. But if Edwards doesn’t get a fire lit soon, “his Tar Heel State supporters might drift to Clinton or Obama.”      

That will give the former senator something to think about this weekend as he catches his breath at a supporter’s lakeside home in New Hampshire.

On the GOP side, the “Fred Heads” have reason to smile, at least for now. Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator, posted a strong lead, with 34%. Rudy Giuliani ran a distant second, with 15%, two percentage points ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But Thompson's strong showing was before The Times reported on the lobbying assignment that Thompson, now a staunch pro-lifer, apparently accepted in 1991 to ease abortion restrictions.

John McCain and Mitt Romney are in the single digits in the poll, which means North Carolina Republicans prefer one undeclared candidate, one maybe and a former New York mayor over them.

--Scott Martelle

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