Under the Dome

Political pundits: Dalton's debate performance didn't do enough to help

How did Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton do in the debates? The News & Observer asked three Triangle political pundits to share their reactions. The consensus: Dalton didn't do enough.

David B. McLennan, professor of communication and political science at Peace College: “Walter Dalton had a difficult task in the debate – to knock down Pat McCrory and to create a compelling vision of a Dalton governorship. Although Dalton attacked McCrory on his personal income taxes, his salary as mayor, and a racially insensitive ad, the attacks seemed overly shrill and ineffective.

"Dalton also had problems maintaining focus with his answers to questions about what he would do as governor, especially those about health care and tax incentives for businesses. On these responses, Dalton got bogged down with details and tangents. McCrory, on the other hand, clearly answered the questions and effectively defended himself against Dalton’s criticisms. On the whole, this was not the debate that Walter Dalton needed to cut into a double-digit lead that Pat McCrory enjoys in the polls.”

J. Michael Bitzer, associate professor of politics and history at Catawba College: “Dalton certainly came out aggressive in this debate, and he needed to. McCrory tried to take the high road early on, but responded to Dalton’s attacks with the “Perdue-Dalton administration/good-ole-boy and good-ole-girl” charges. 

"Both men focused on a number of specific policy issues, but details seemed lacking on both sides, particularly in facing the realities confronting the state. One of the clear winners tonight seemed to be rural voters, with both candidates actively courting that constituency. McCrory seemed to present a more coherent campaign message that stuck to common themes of his campaign, while Dalton seemed to be trying to find a general campaign theme throughout.”

John Davis, political analyst and editor of the Raleigh-based John Davis Political Report: “Pat McCrory did not have to win the debate to win the governor’s race, he simply had to avoid making a big mistake. He accomplished that. Polls consistently show his support at 50 percent with at least a 10-point lead over Walter Dalton.

"Conversely, Walter Dalton’s support has been stalled around 38 percent ever since his late entry into the race due to Gov. Perdue’s … last-minute decision to not seek re-election. Dalton desperately needed a clear win in the debate to jump start his campaign. He failed to do that.”


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that is a very strange way to define yourself

Congrats on your 4 bedroom 3 bath house. I'm sure you'll both be very happy with you living in it.

The unemployment rate and

The unemployment rate and the debt of Charlotte doubled while Pat McCrory was Mayor.

As bad a record as that is, I agree with McCrory that we need to find a way to lower the state's corporate and personal tax rates - what is just unacceptable is that he will not say how he will pay for it.

We went down this road once before when we elected Pat McCrory's political hero W. W lowered taxes and didn't pay for them - when he left office in January 2009, the US was losing 750,000 jobs a month - the unemployment rate had doubled from when he took office

all sound familiar



big talk

Jack you talk big while typing from a distance. As for credibility, you have NONE. I thought you were being paid to be a pushy jerk, but I now see you do it for free. Your liberal tactic of insulting people to try and silence them will not work with me. As for your comment about being in a cave or under a rock. I did start out with nothing, but in this great country every person has the opportunity to better themselves through hard work and I have done my share. I watched the debate from 4 BR 3Bth home sitting on 17acres and all paid for. How about you???

Under a rock

Methinks perhap Walter has been under a rock or hidden in a cave for the past 25 years if anyone has. Why, why , why is he all of a sudden a ball of fire claiming to get this done and that done if elected. He's been in current office and in Senate for combined many years, why hasn't he done or championed some of the things he touts to do now? Why hasn't he come to the front and made a case for himself and the issues he all of a sudden is the proponent of? Why?  Because he is a march in tune member of the same Democratic party whose administrations that have tarnished the face of North Carolina politics with scandal and corrupt good old boy antics in our  past. No, the voters won't forget so quickly in a month, and his attack and smirk performance/campaign is not a game changer.

your willful ignorance is showing

No real record of his own? You must have been under a rock -- or perhaps in a mountain cave? --  for the past twenty five years. Statements like that do nothing for youe credibility. 

Listen, we all know Pat

Listen, we all know Pat McCrory looks like the warden from Shawshank Redemption.


What was important about last night is that Walter Dalton finally told the voters that the unemployment rate doubled in Charlotte while McCrory was Mayor.

different debate

Jackson, you must have watched a different debate than I did. I saw nothing impressing about Dalton at all. He came across as a attacker, who had no real record of his own. His only accomplishments have been through his association with Perdue/Easley and that has become a liability for him. Sitting back doing nothing during these corrupt administrations will be remembered by the voters in November. I think there will be a swing away from Dalton because North Carolina is sick and tired of the same ole business as usual.

It was a great introduction of Walter Dalton to voters:

I think the punditshave missed the mark on what was important about last night. Most people have never had the chance to see Walter Dalton speak or evaluate him until now. They just didn't know him or have any idea what he was like. And the performance he delivered last night was very impressive --impressive enough to pull votes away from McCrory from people who were responding to McCrory's name recognition until now. If Walter Dalton does as well in the two remaining debates as he did last night, we're going to see some shift in the polls. Never underestimate the power of someone who clearly has North Carolina in their blood as Walter Dalton seems to.

I was also shocked at how ill at ease McCrory seemed. I abhor his politics and would never vote for him, but I did expect him to be better at debating. I am assuming that was an off night for him. 

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