Former Congressman Bob Etheridge holds a small lead over Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton in the Democratic primary for governor with most voters still undecided, according to a new poll.
Etheridge has the support of 26 support of likely Democratic voters, while Dalton has the backing of 19 percent, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in Raleigh.
Among the second tier candidates, Bruce Blackmon leads with 5 percent, Gardenia Henley with 4 percent, and 2 percent each for Gary Dunn and state Rep. Bill Faison.
Etheridge's lead was largely due a 50-7 advantage over Dalton in the Triangle. Dalton leas in the Triad, Charlotte and in the mountains but not by a large enough margin to make up for Etheridge's huge lead in the Triangle.
Etheridge served in Congress for 14 years in 2nd congressional district, which includes part of the Triangle.
The Democrats are not very well known. Etheridge has 51 percent name recognition with a 34/17 percent favorability rating, but not known outside the Triangle or Eastern North Carolina. Dalton has 38 percent name recognition and 22/16 favorability rating. Faison has a 10/20 percent favorability rating.
The survey of 499 likely Democratic voters was conducted Feb. 29-March 4 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.