In a crowded Democratic field for governor, only Erskine Bowles can match Republican Pat McCrory at this point, according to a poll released Monday.
Bowles, the former two-time U.S. Senate candidate, trails McCrory 44 to 42 percent in a hypothetical matchup -- a virtual deadlock with McCrory's advantage within the 4.2 percent margin of error. The problem: Bowles isn't in the race yet.
The Public Policy Polling survey tested 13 Democratic candidates against McCrory, the likely GOP nominee and former Charlotte mayor, after Gov. Bev Perdue dropped out. Pollster Tom Jensen argues that Democrats have a better chance with Perdue out of the race. In a generic partisan matchup, voters split evenly -- 46 percent supporting a Democratic candidates and 45 percent supporting a Republican.
McCrory is viewed favorably by 45 percent of votes compared to 31 percent unfavorably. The only other Democratic candidate who polls in single digits in a matchup with McCrory is U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who trails 48 to 41 percent.
For other Democrats being mentioned as potential candidates, here's how they stack up: former State Treasurer Richard trails by 11 percentage points, Congressman Brad Miller by 14, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and former Congressman Bob Etheridge by 15, Congressman Heath Shuler by 17, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and state Sen. Dan Blue by 18; state Rep. Bill Faison by 19; and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker and Congressman Mike McIntyre by 20 points. See the full results from the PPP poll here.