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PPP poll: Presidential race a tie, McCrory way ahead in governor's race

The newest poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling the presidential race is deadlocked and Pat McCrory enjoying a big lead in the governor's race.

The survey of likely voters released Thursday shows President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney tied at 48 percent with just 4 percent undecided. It's a slight improvement or the president. A PPP poll from Oct. 14 put Romney ahead 49 percent to 47 percent, though it was still a statistical tie.

The governor's race isn't even close. Pat McCrory holds a 13-point lead on Democrat Walter Dalton, ahead 50 percent to 37 percent.

N&O editorial board endorses Walter Dalton for governor

The News & Observer's editorial board endorsed Democrat Walter Dalton for governor in today's newspaper. It's a reversal from four years ago when the newspaper's opinion writers picked Republican Pat McCrory.

"Of these two candidates for the governorship, we think Dalton has more of what it takes to lead North Carolina in the right direction, toward more opportunity and prosperity for all of its people," the board wrote.

Morning Roundup: McCrory goes moderate, a new Goldman police report

Republican Pat McCrory continued his moderate transformation during Wednesday's debate, shedding his tea party and conservative cape as he said legislation restricting abortions and cracking down on illegal immigration won't appear on his agenda if elected. At the same time, Democrat Walter Dalton made a bold pledge to lower the employment rate as much as 3 percent in his first year. Pundits say the debate isn't the game changer Dalton needed. Read more here and see four fact checks from the debate.

More political headlines:

--In a new development that raises questions about Debra Goldman's judgment, another police report surfaced showing that the GOP state auditor candidate called 911 after a fellow board member yelled at her during a heated Wake school board meeting.

Pundits: Debate doesn't alter governor's race, McCrory offers surprising details

Three political pundits came away from Wednesday evening's debate with different views. But two points of agreement: Democratic candidate Walter Dalton didn't do enough to alter the race, in which he is losing by double-digits. And Pat McCrory offered a surprising amount of detail on two hot-button issues. 

Andy Taylor, political science professor at N.C. State University: “The debate was certainly not anything approaching the ‘game changer’ Dalton needed. People are already voting, and the lieutenant governor has very little money, so this debate was, in many ways, his last chance to alter the dynamic of the race.

Are national Democrats giving up on N.C. governor's race?

The Democratic Governors Association appears to be conceding the N.C. governor's race to Republicans.

A DGA-funded liberal group supporting Democratic candidate Walter Dalton's is not running TV ads this week -- as hundreds of thousands of voters go to the polls -- and no commercials are scheduled to appear in the final week before the election.

A spokesman for N.C. Citizens for Progress, the group helping Dalton, said national Democrats have not abandoned the race entirely, but he acknowledged it is dark this week with no concrete plans to make future TV ad purchases. The group "is currently assessing the political landscape to determine its actions for the last two weeks of the campaign," said Michael Weisel, a Raleigh attorney with the Citizens group.

Morning Roundup: State GOP leaders knew about Goldman-Malone troubles

N.C. Republican Party leaders were aware of a reported relationship between Wake County school board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone, yet they still discouraged other potential GOP candidates from opposing Goldman in her run for state auditor, a former opponent said Tuesday. After voting Tuesday, Pat McCrory wouldn't say whether he supported Goldman. Read the full story here.

More political headlines:

--The state employees association unveiled a website Tuesday that highlights the GOP lieutenant governor candidate Dan Forest's thoughts on  “Islamic extremists” who want to impose Shariah law and a United Nations plan for sustainable development called Agenda 21. “He is probably the most radical candidate who’s ever run for North Carolina office,” said Dana Cope, the group's leader.

Dalton hits McCrory on ethics, but McCrory dodges jab

Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton jabbed at Pat McCrory Tuesday morning while Republican candidate dodged the topic and called it a “desperation” attack in the final two weeks of their gubernatorial campaign.

Dalton outlined his jobs plan and touted his record on education. Then he attacked McCrory over taxes, oil drilling and what he called McCrory’s support for special interests. 

Asheville newspaper picks Pat McCrory in governor's race

The Asheville Citizen-Times is the latest N.C. newspaper to endorse Pat McCrory for governor. The paper -- which picked President Barack Obama for the White House -- said McCrory's executive experience as Charlotte mayor gave him the edge.

McCrory faces criticism from rival for his response to Goldman controversy

Pat McCrory, who campaigned Saturday with Republican state auditor candidate Debra Goldman, is now facing criticism from Democrats about his response to the controversy engulfing her candidacy.

“Pat believes that the timing of this story, coming after voting has already started, and its basis from a stolen police report, to be troubling,” Brian Nick, McCrory’s spokesman said Monday. “If the allegations are based on facts, Pat hopes that the folks involved are able to tend to these matters, and his prayers are with the families impacted.”

In essence, McCrory -- who highlights Democratic scandals in Raleigh at every opportunity in his campaign to "clean up" Raleigh -- seemed to criticize the media but avoid commenting on the substance in the allegations. His campaign didn't answer a question about whether he would vote for Goldman.

With McCrory ahead, RGA pulls all remaining broadcast TV ads in N.C.

The Republican Governors Association pulled nearly all its remaining TV advertising in North Carolina, signaling its confidence that Pat McCrory is a lock in the governor's race.

The D.C.-based group planned to spend nearly $1 million on TV ads attacking Democrat Walter Dalton in the final two weeks of the election. But the RGA cut all spending on broadcast stations starting this week, media buyers reported Monday.

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