This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton, the Republican and Democratic party candidates respectively for the 2012 gubernatorial elections in North Carolina.

Result: Republican Pat McCrory defeated Democrat Dalton to win the election.

Comparison chart

Pat McCrory versus Walter Dalton comparison chart
Pat McCroryWalter Dalton
  • current rating is 3.17/5
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(77 ratings)
  • current rating is 4.01/5
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(81 ratings)
Pat McCroryWalter Dalton
Political Party Republican Democrat
Tax Policy Supports lower income tax. Supports lower corporate tax. Does not support raising sales and consumption taxes.
Healthcare Policy Opposes Obama’s health care plan Supports health care reform
Education Policy Supports reform, including more charter school, more online options and a required reading level for 4th graders. Supports increased funding for community colleges and universities and increased teacher pay. Promises to restore cuts to education.
Energy Policy Supports energy independence and an increase in investment in energy resources. Supports use of renewable energy.
Environmental Policy No stated policies. Supports expanding state parks and clean water initiatives.
Position on Abortion Opposes Supports legal abortion
Position on Gay Rights Opposes gay marriage Supports civil unions
Date of birth October 17th 1956 May 21st 1949
Hometown Columbus, Ohio Rutherfordton, NC
Logo of Republican(Elephant) and Democratic (Donkey) parties
Logo of Republican(Elephant) and Democratic (Donkey) parties

Early Life and Career

Pat McCrory was born in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Catawba College in North Carolina in 1978. He worked at Duke Energy until 2007 and became mayor of Charlotte in 1995.

Walter Dalton is from Rutherfordton in North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and worked in banking before returning to earn his law degree in 1975. After completing his JD, he worked as a managing partner of a law firm and was elected to the State Senate in 1996. He has been the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina since 2008.

Differences in Economic Policy

Tax Policy

Pat McCrory opposes any increase in sales tax [1] and supports a cut in income tax [2].

Walter Dalton supports a rise of three-quarters of a cent in sales tax to help fund the improvement of education. [3]

Healthcare Policy

Pat McCrory opposes Obama’s health care bill and instead supports increased technological innovation and preventative healthcare programs. [4] He opposes government interference in health insurance plans. [5]

Walter Dalton supported increased investment in cancer research and increased health care funding for low income children and senior citizens. He also provided tax credits to small businesses to help them provide employees with health insurance. He supports free clinics and small rural hospitals to improve health care access in the state. [6]

Social Issues


Pat McCrory opposes legal abortion. [7]

Walter Dalton supports legal abortion. [8]

Gay rights

Pat McCrory opposes gay marriage and supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. [9]

Walter Dalton opposes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions, stating a support for civil unions for all couples. [10]

Education Policy

Pat McCrory aims to create two pathways to high school diplomas: one for “college ready” students and one for “career ready” students. He plans to increase the number of on-line courses available to students and the number of charter schools, and to institute a reading level requirement to advance into fourth grade. He also plans to increase pay for quality teachers and hold schools accountable for their results. [11]

Walter Dalton supports a payrise for teachers, smaller class sizes and greater accountability for schools. He aims to increase North Carolina’s focus on science, technology, engineering and math and supports additional funding for community colleges and universities. [12]

Energy Policy

Pat McCrory supports energy independence and an increased focus on energy to boost the economy. [13]

Walter Dalton is cautious about the use of fracking, as it presents concerns about the protection of drinking water. [14]. He supports the use of renewable energy sources, including the use of safe nuclear plants. [15]

Environmental Policy

Pat McCrory has not spoken on environmental issues.

Walter Dalton has enlarged state park areas to boost tourism in the state and protected the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to improve water quality and preserve sensitive areas. [16]


The first debate between Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton was held on June 23, 2012 and sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association. The full video is presented below.

The second debate was held on October 3, 2012 and was televised. Highlights are presented below:

Opinion Poll Ratings

Poll source Date(s)
Dalton (D)
McCrory (R)
Survey USA September 29-October 1, 2012 39% 51%
WSJ/NBC News/Marist September 23-25, 2012 39% 52%
Rasmussen Reports September 13, 2012 38% 51%
Survey USA/Civitas September 4-6, 2012 39% 55%
Public Policy Polling August 30-September 3, 2012 39% 45%
Elon Univ./Charlotte Observer August 25-30, 2012 37% 52%
Public Policy Polling August 2-5, 2012 38% 45%
Rasmussen Reports July 27, 2012 41% 46%
Public Policy Polling July 5-8, 2012 36% 43%
Survey USA June 29-July 1, 2012 44% 46%
Rasmussen Reports June 25, 2012 35% 49%
NBC News/Marist June 24-25, 2012 41% 43%
Public Policy Polling June 7-10, 2012 40% 47%
Survey USA May 18-21, 2012 39% 44%
Rasmussen Reports May 14, 2012 41% 50%
Public Policy Polling May 10-13, 2012 40% 46%
Rasmussen Reports April 10, 2012 36% 45%
Public Policy Polling March 8–11, 2012 35% 46%
Public Policy Polling January 27–29, 2012 35% 50%
Public Policy Polling September 30 – October 3, 2011 32% 46%
Public Policy Polling March 17–20, 2011 27% 47%


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