It's just conventional political thought that former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is the Republican choice to challenge Gov. Bev Perdue in the 2012 election.
But what if the once-moderate McCrory gets a challenger from the right? This is what the latest Public Policy Polling survey envisions.
The Democratic outfit asked the question -- "Would you like the Republican candidate for governor next year to be Pat McCrory or a more conservative Tea Party challenger?" -- and found a Tea Party candidate gets 46 percent to McCrory's 40 percent. It's just above the 4.9 percent margin of error but worth political intrigue.
McCrory's favorable-unfavorable numbers are at 51 percent to 11 percent with a large portion (38 percent) of voters still undecided. This means the race to define him is key to the 2012 election.
The other two GOP candidates poll tested were U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who both posted fav-unfav at 19 percent to 13 percent (68 percent undecided). In head-to-head matchups, McCrory easily tops both GOPers. For more results go here.