Republicans Unite Around Trump, But Clinton Still Has Edge

Donald Trump won the GOP presidential nomination over the loud objections of more than a few leading Republicans. But as our collective attention turns to the general election, most Republicans appear to be falling in line behind the nominee – even if they’re gritting their teeth to do it.

A national survey this week from Public Policy Polling finds Hillary Clinton with a four-point edge on Trump, 42-38, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 2 percent. (Johnson and Stein are actually pulling more votes from Clinton than Trump; take them away and Clinton’s lead would jump to six points.)

For all the talk about GOP disunity, though, Trump gets almost exactly as much support from Republicans as Clinton gets from Democrats. Clinton leads Trump 78-9 among Democrats, while Trump leads Clinton 78-7 among Republicans; 72 percent of Republicans say they’re comfortable with Trump as their party’s nominee, while 75 percent of Democrats say they’re comfortable with Clinton. (The number of Republicans and Democrats who say they’re uncomfortable with their party’s frontrunner? Exactly the same in both parties, 21 percent.)

Get more numbers from PPP’s presidential survey here.

Those numbers may be disappointing to Democrats who were hoping for a fractured GOP this fall – but PPP director Tom Jensen says there’s plenty of good news here for Democrats too. For one, the undecided voters in a Clinton/Trump matchup tend to be supporters of Bernie Sanders – Clinton/Trump undecideds favor Sanders over Trump by a 41-8 margin – so if Clinton does end up winning the nomination, she may be able to expand her lead in a big way merely by winning over Sanders’ supporters. (The Clinton/Sanders race has been contentious, but Jensen says he does expect the party to come together sooner or later. At this time in 2008, he says, nearly half of Clinton’s supporters were telling pollsters they wouldn’t vote for Obama that fall – far more than the number of Sanders supporters who say they won’t support Clinton now – but almost all those voters did wind up supporting Obama in the end.)

And while Clinton’s popularity ratings remain low, Jensen says Trump’s are even lower: only 34 percent of voters approve of him, against 61 percent who disapprove. (And Trump’s supporters still tend to be on the fringes when it comes to their political views: nearly two-thirds of them say they think Barack Obama is a Muslim, for instance, and nearly three-fifths say they still don’t believe he was born in the US.) To drive home the point, PPP tested Trump in head-to-head matchups with other despised things: voters prefer lice to Donald Trump by a 54-28 margin, root canals to Donald Trump by a 49-38 margin, used car salesmen to Donald Trump by a 47-41 margin, and the band Nickelback to Donald Trump by a 39-34 margin.

(Trump does win head-to-head battles with cockroaches and hemorrhoids, though. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.)

Tom Jensen spoke Thursday with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.


Jensen says even if the GOP does end up unifying around its nominee, Trump’s place at the top of the ballot may still haunt the party in the general election. Democrats lead Republicans 46-41 in a generic Congressional ballot – not enough of a lead for Democrats to regain control of the House of Representatives, but enough for Democrats to pick up several seats in both houses (and possibly retake the Senate). Voters also say (by a 45-26 margin) that they’d be less likely to vote for a candidate if that candidate endorses Trump for president.

Get more numbers on PPP’s Congressional survey here.

And the thought of Donald Trump in the White House is also making voters more likely to want the Senate to vote now on President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. Only 38 percent of voters say they trust Trump to make a Supreme Court nomination, against 53 percent who don’t; 58 percent of Americans say they want the vacant seat filled this year (up slightly from two months ago); and 50 percent of voters say they’d be less likely to vote for a Senator if that Senator blocked Merritt Garland’s confirmation hearings. (Only 18 percent say they’d be more likely to vote for such a candidate.)

Get more numbers on PPP’s Supreme Court survey here.

On Polls, Primaries, Caucuses, And The Clinton-Sanders Race

Okay. So earlier this week, Bernie Sanders won the Indiana primary.

Shouldn’t have been a big surprise, really. Indiana was an open primary, where independents are allowed to vote; independents tend to favor Sanders over Clinton, so Bernie’s generally been doing better in open-primary states. Clinton tends to run stronger among black voters, but Indiana doesn’t have a huge minority population, so that favored Bernie too.

So – not a surprise, right?

Except it was a surprise. Going into the election, all the polls said Hillary was going to win. A Marist College survey had Clinton up 50-46. An American Research Group survey had her up 51-43. YouGov had her up 49-44. Fox News had her up 46-42. Not one survey had Bernie ahead. The website, which makes predictions based on all the polls put together, predicted Hillary would win by about a 52-45 margin.

But then Bernie won. Surprise!

Later, I got an email with an interesting question.

“Hi Aaron. I would be interested to hear…why the national pollsters keep forecasting Hillary to win, when she seems to often fall short. I know they talk about margin-of-error, but it seems to always go to Bernie.”

Good question, right?

After all, it has kinda seemed like that. All the national polls have shown Hillary in the lead from the beginning, but Bernie’s the one who’s been drawing the big crowds, he’s the one who’s got people talking on social media…and he keeps winning primaries! Indiana, the polls had Hillary up 7 points, Bernie won by 5. Michigan, the polls had Hillary up 21 points, Bernie won by 2.

And yes, polling isn’t perfect, but in this case it seems to be a one-way street. Bernie’s won states that the pollsters called for Hillary – but Hillary hasn’t won a single state that the pollsters called for Bernie.

What gives?

I asked Tom Jensen, the director of Public Policy Polling, one of the most respected polling outlets in the country.

“It’s sometimes just harder (for pollsters) to pick up those independent voters who are planning to vote in the Democratic primary,” he said. That may have been one reason for the incorrect polls in Indiana – compounded by the fact that Indiana has uniquely restrictive laws that make it nearly impossible for pollsters (including PPP) to conduct surveys there.

Okay. That makes sense.

But then Jensen added something else.

He said the pollsters have basically been getting it right.

Michigan and Indiana were outliers, he said, but the polls in every other primary have been fairly accurate. And while individual surveys may be off, they’re not all off in one particular direction. The polls underestimated Bernie in Michigan and Indiana’s open primaries, he said, but they also “slightly underestimated Hillary Clinton in states like Maryland and New York, in closed primaries where only Democrats could vote.”

Now, I trust Tom Jensen. Back in mid-March when Hillary was surging, he told me Bernie was about to have a run of victories. In early April, with Bernie on a roll, he told me Hillary was going to dominate for the rest of the month. He was right both times.

But is he right about the polls being accurate?

I searched the Internet for a page that compared survey data with actual results in every state. Surprisingly I came up empty.

Oh well. If it doesn’t exist, do it yourself!

In the chart below, you’ll see the polling numbers for Clinton and Sanders (and the predicted margin of victory), followed by their actual vote percentage in the primary itself (and the actual margin of victory). The column on the far right measures polling error, the difference between the predicted margin and the actual margin: who got overestimated, and by how much.

AL 71.4 25.7 Clinton +45.7 77.8 19.2 Clinton +58.6 Sanders +12.9
AZ* 51.1 22.7 Clinton +28.4 57.6 39.9 Clinton +17.7 Clinton +10.7
AR 60.5 36 Clinton +24.5 66.3 29.7 Clinton +36.6 Sanders +12.1
CT 50.9 46.8 Clinton +4.1 51.8 46.4 Clinton +5.4 Sanders +1.3
FL 63.2 33.8 Clinton +29.4 64.4 33.3 Clinton +31.1 Sanders +1.7
GA 66.3 30.5 Clinton +35.8 71.3 28.2 Clinton +43.1 Sanders +7.3
IL 51.6 44.3 Clinton +7.3 50.5 48.7 Clinton +1.8 Clinton +5.5
IN 52.3 45.2 Clinton +7.1 47.5 52.5 Sanders +5.0 Clinton +12.1
IA 49.1 44.7 Clinton +4.4 49.9 49.6 Clinton +0.3 Clinton +4.1
LA 72.6 20.2 Clinton +52.4 71.1 23.2 Clinton +47.9 Clinton +4.5
MD 56.4 40.9 Clinton +15.5 63 33.2 Clinton +29.8 Sanders +14.3
MA 52.4 44.8 Clinton +7.6 50.1 48.7 Clinton +1.4 Clinton +6.2
MI 59.2 38.3 Clinton +20.9 48.3 49.8 Sanders +1.5 Clinton +22.6
MS 77 16.7 Clinton +60.3 82.6 16.5 Clinton +66.1 Sanders +5.8
MO 48.8 48.1 Clinton +0.7 49.6 49.4 Clinton +0.2 Clinton +0.5
NC 59.6 37.6 Clinton +22.2 54.6 40.8 Clinton +13.8 Clinton +8.4
NH 41.5 55.6 Sanders +14.1 38 60.4 Sanders +22.4 Clinton +8.3
NY 53.5 42 Clinton +13.5 58 42 Clinton +16 Sanders +2.5
NV 51.2 47.2 Clinton +4.0 52.6 47.3 Clinton +5.3 Sanders +1.3
OH 53.9 43.3 Clinton +10.6 56.5 42.7 Clinton +13.8 Sanders +3.2
OK 47.2 47.5 Sanders +0.3 41.5 51.9 Sanders +10.4 Clinton +10.1
PA 57.1 40.4 Clinton +16.7 55.6 43.6 Clinton +12 Clinton +4.7
RI 48.1 49.2 Sanders +1.1 3.6 54.6 Sanders +11 Clinton +9.9
SC 64.5 31.3 Clinton +33.2 73.5 26 Clinton +47.5 Sanders +14.3
TN 60.5 36.1 Clinton +24.4 66.1 32.4 Clinton +33.7 Sanders +9.3
TX 63.3 33.7 Clinton +29.6 65.2 33.2 Clinton +32 Sanders +2.4
UT* 43.8 51.1 Sanders +7.3 20.3 79.3 Sanders +59 Clinton +51.7
VT 10.2 87.4 Sanders +77.2 13.6 86.1 Sanders +72.5 Sanders +4.7
VA 60.2 36.7 Clinton +23.5 64.3 35.2 Clinton +29.1 Sanders +5.6
WI 47.4 50.1 Sanders +2.7 43.1 56.6 Sanders +13.5 Clinton +10.8

(For polling numbers, I used FiveThirtyEight’s “polls-only” projections for each state. In the two starred states – Arizona and Utah – FiveThirtyEight didn’t have enough surveys for a projection, so I used their weighted polling average instead. To make this easier, I’m only including the 50 states plus Washington, DC. Sorry, Guam.)

So how have the pollsters done?

Turns out Tom Jensen was right. Exactly right, in fact. In the 30 states on that chart, the polls have erred in Hillary’s favor 15 times, and Bernie’s favor 15 times. A perfectly even split.

Also worth noting: the pollsters don’t always predict the right margin of victory, but they have picked the correct winner in 28 out of 30 states. Michigan and Indiana were the only outliers.

How about accuracy? In most states, the FiveThirtyEight projections have been off by 4-9 points. The numbers were most accurate in Missouri, off by only half a point. Where were they most inaccurate?

UT     Clinton +51.7
MI     Clinton +22.6
MD    Sanders +14.3
SC      Sanders +14.3
AL      Sanders +12.9
AR     Sanders +12.1
IN      Clinton +12.1

The polls underestimated Sanders in Michigan and Indiana, but they also overestimated Sanders in a few states where Clinton’s margin of victory turned out to be even bigger than expected. (What the hell happened in Utah? The only poll FiveThirtyEight had to work with was from a local outfit that surveyed less than 200 voters with more than a week to go before the election. Utah is also a caucus state, and caucuses are notoriously difficult to predict.)

So there you go. Michigan and Indiana made headlines, and there have been some errors, but in general the polls haven’t skewed toward Hillary any more than they’ve skewed toward Bernie.


…we’re not quite done yet. Something else is going on here.

Take a look at that chart again.

Where are all Bernie’s states?

Thirty states on that chart, and Sanders only won eight of them. You know he won a lot more than that. What happened to all the other states?

I did more digging…and the answer is fascinating.

As of today, May 7, there have already been primaries or caucuses in 41 states. FiveThirtyEight had pre-election projections for 30 of them. FiveThirtyEight couldn’t project the other 11 states – Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Washington, and Wyoming – because there wasn’t any survey data for those states.

Nobody polled them.

Why not?

Delaware, apparently, got passed over because nobody lives there. Sorry, Delaware.

But the other 10 states?

They’re all caucus states, as it turns out. That’s why nobody polled them.

Caucuses are weird beasts. Different states run them in different ways, but the upshot is that you don’t go to the polls and cast a ballot – you go to a meeting, organize into groups, and spend time talking to people. The process can take several hours. So it’s almost impossible to predict, with any accuracy, who’s actually going to show up for these things. Maybe the babysitter cancels at the last minute. Maybe it’s your anniversary. Maybe you don’t love your candidate enough to blow a whole evening on them. Could be anything. And in order for a poll to be accurate, the pollster has to be able to predict who’s going to show up: this percentage of white voters, that percentage of women. You can’t do that with caucuses, so pollsters rarely bother to try.

Thirteen states have held caucuses so far this year, and only a couple of them have been polled. Iowa always gets surveyed because it’s first in the cycle; Nevada got surveyed a few times; Utah had that one poll that turned out to be totally wrong – and that was it. The other ten states – Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Washington, and Wyoming – FiveThirtyEight didn’t even try to project, because they had no polls to go on.

And Bernie won all ten of those states.

Weird, right?

So there’s your answer, if you’re wondering why the polls keep saying Hillary while the results keep saying Bernie. The polls themselves have actually been right, for the most part, and their errors have been perfectly balanced – it’s just that Bernie’s victories have been coming in those caucus states, which nobody bothers to poll.

Which only leaves one more question:

Why does Bernie do so much better in caucuses?

It’s a pretty stark difference, actually. Bernie has won 11 of the 13 caucuses so far, while Hillary has won 21 of the 28 primaries. Something’s clearly going on.

There are a variety of possible reasons. First off, almost all the caucuses have taken place in states with very small minority populations, where Bernie has an advantage anyway. You also have to be really energized to spend an entire evening at a caucus, and we know that Bernie supporters are generally more energized than Hillary supporters. (You also have to have the whole evening free, so conservatives, here’s your chance to joke about Bernie voters all being unemployed.)

But it may not be a Bernie thing at all. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason – and this goes all the way back to 2008 – Hillary Clinton just sucks at caucuses.

Want to know why Barack Obama has been president for the last eight years? Here’s why. In 2008, the Democratic Party held 38 presidential primaries, and Hillary won 20 of them. She won pivotal early primaries in New Hampshire and Florida; she won the big races in California, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Obama won his home-state primary in Illinois, but his second-biggest victory (in terms of population) was North Carolina. Hillary got all the big prizes. And she got more votes overall too: according to, Clinton won a total of 18,055,516 primary votes nationwide, against only 17,628,560 for Obama.

So why did Hillary Clinton lose?

Because there were also 14 caucuses, and she won…one of them.

Arizona Alabama Nevada Alaska
Arkansas Connecticut   Colorado
California District of Columbia   Hawaii
Florida Delaware   Idaho
Indiana Georgia   Iowa
Kentucky Illinois   Kansas
Massachusetts Louisiana   Maine
Michigan Maryland   Minnesota
New Hampshire Mississippi   Nebraska
New Jersey Missouri   North Dakota
New Mexico Montana   Texas
New York North Carolina   Washington
Ohio Oregon   Wyoming
Oklahoma South Carolina    
Pennsylvania Utah    
Rhode Island Vermont    
South Dakota Virginia    
Tennessee Wisconsin    
West Virginia      


Texas is the textbook case here. (I’ll let you make your own joke about Texas and textbooks.) The state held a primary on March 4, 2008, which Clinton won by a 51-47 margin – but the state also apportioned some of its delegates at precinct-level caucuses, and Obama won those by a margin of 56-44.

Why is Hillary Clinton bad at caucuses? I have no idea. But it probably cost her the 2008 nomination – and it’s making the 2016 race a lot closer than it otherwise might be.



After all that, here’s what we know:

The polls did get Michigan and Indiana wrong, but otherwise they’ve correctly called the winner of every other state. Primaries aren’t easy to predict, so the pollsters are having a pretty decent year. Though it might sometimes appear otherwise, the polls are not skewed in favor of either candidate.

Most of Bernie’s victories have come in caucus states, which pollsters typically don’t survey. Why Bernie does better in caucus states is still an open question, but caucuses were also Hillary’s albatross in 2008 as well. (The only exception seems to be Nevada, which Hillary won in both 2008 and 2016. I don’t know who runs her Nevada campaign, but that person deserves a big raise.)

And we know enough about this primary to make an educated guess about how the rest of the cycle will go. Tom Jensen says there are really only three things you need to know: “Bernie Sanders does a lot better in caucuses than he does in primaries…he does a lot better in open contests where independents are allowed to vote…and he does a lot better in states that are heavily white.”

There are ten contests left, and only one of them is a caucus – so if you’re still holding out the hope for Bernie, you need to pray he figures out primaries quick.

Early Poll Shows Paul, Clinton Favorites For 2016

RALEIGH – In a very early poll for the 2016 Presidential Election, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as favorites for the ticket.

On the Democratic ticket, Sec. Clinton is a clear favorite with 52 percent of Democrats favoring her in the hypothetical primary. The only other candidate who came close is Vice President Joe Biden with 12-percent support.

In the Republican field, it is more of a dead heat, with Senator Paul leading with 16 percent. Just behind Sen. Paul are former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all with 13-percent support.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously lead polls of potential Republican candidates for the presidency, is now at ten percent, which PPP director Tom Jensen says is a result of Sen. Rubio taking the lead on immigration reform in the Senate.

“A lot of Republican voters think that he’s been too liberal on that issue and that they don’t want to see an immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Jensen says.

On the flip side, Jensen says that Sen. Paul’s high poll numbers and attention come from his filibuster regarding the United States’ drone policy, taking the liberal position on that issue. However, Jensen says it is important to consider who is on the other side of the drone debate.

“Even though the stance Paul was taking on drones maybe was a little more liberal, he was definitely standing in opposition to the president,” Jensen says. “And, I think, if there’s one thing that Republican voters appreciate, it’s a willingness to take on the president.”

Jensen says support for Sec. Clinton’s run for office comes from most Democratic voters wanting both then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Obama as their presidential nominee but having to settle for just one.

“What you’re seeing now is voters saying, ‘Well, you were very loyal to President Obama, serving in his administration. After his eight years are up, we want you to be the next in line,’” Jensen says.

With the presidential election still far away and no one announcing their candidacy yet, party leaders have yet to weigh in or give their support. Jensen says Democratic leaders would likely support Sec. Clinton if she was to run, but on the Republican side, he says it’s not that simple.

“The Republican side, I think, is a total muddle,” Jensen says. “There’s lots of qualified candidates who are pretty well known and that’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”

When Democratic voters were asked to consider a Democratic nominee besides Sec. Clinton, Vice President Biden was in the lead with 34 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following with 13 percent.

Quick Hits Around Washington

Washington, DC

– Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, didn’t take long to cause a commotion once out of office. Her office released causing rumors predicting a 2016 run to gain further traction. The new site, launched January 30th, is undergoing further development, though it is worth noting that now forwards to this new URL.

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been making the media rounds this week, appearing on David Letterman’s The Tonight Show on Monday night, drawing praise from the notoriously liberal, Letterman, for his wonderful work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Christie, who has been critical of his own party’s leadership, has recently become a very vocal voice for bi-partisanship and is now an overwhelming favorite to be re-elected to the same office in 2013. When asked if he would run for President in 2016, Christie said that when he last polled his family, it was 6 votes to none for NOT running. He plans to re-evaluate their stance moving forward.

– The Wall Street Journal published an article on Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, and his “Red-State Model” that he hopes will generate momentum for the party in future years. With the stable of appealing candidates is in short supply, Brownback hopes that his state’s success of slashing the budget (and taxes), weaning people off entitlements and the ensuing strong jobs record will move people to the economic right. Meanwhile, states like North Carolina are likely headed in a similar policy direction, according to Brownback.

– Barack Obama continues his dual-threat ground game this week in Minneapolis (on Monday) as he pushes for greater gun control measures. Obama was in Nevada last week to launch his immigration reform push. Both issues are hot topics in North Carolina. 41.3% of North Carolina households self-reported having a gun in 2012, while 25% of NC’s population growth in the last 20 years can be attributed to Latinos (according to the NC Governor’s office).

Have a question about what’s going on in Washington? Let us know.


Ryan Watts is a Chapel Hill native and recent UNC graduate in Political Science and Business Administration. Now living in Washington DC, he works as a Consultant. You can find him on Twitter @RyanVWatts or at his blog.

image by paul-w via flickr

Caught In A Lie, What Do You Do?

What should a public figure do when caught in a mistake or telling a lie?

Any experienced political advisor will urge, “Stop lying, tell the truth, and get the whole story out in one fell swoop.”

Further lying or delay in telling the whole story makes it worse. Day after day, the news media’s reports reemphasize and compound the negatives, destroying the troubled public figure’s chances for rehabilitation in the public’s mind.

Lance Armstrong and John Edwards compounded their disasters by delaying acknowledgement of errors and continuing to lie to the public.

Duke University history professor William Chafe, author of “Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal,” agrees. “The cover-up is worse than the crime and it is going to come back and get you. When you’ve done something wrong, ‘fess up.”

For every rule there are exceptions. Professor Chafe describes how Bill Clinton saved his presidency by maintaining and adjusting his untruthful story about his relationship with Monica Lewinski, waiting several months before admitting the truth.

“He buys six months” Chafe told me recently, “and that six months saves his presidency.”

During those months the country got used to the idea of having a president who had an affair with an intern and lied about it. Several things helped Clinton. The country’s economy under his leadership was doing well. Ken Starr, the special prosecutor, and the Republican impeachment team came across to the public as political and unnecessarily oppressive. Most importantly, Hillary Clinton stuck by her husband, even though he had cheated on and lied to her.

How can Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary loyalty to her husband be explained? Chafe’s book takes on the task. Chafe “became convinced that the only way anyone could understand either one of them—and the politics of the 80s and 90s—was by examining the chemistry of their relationship. Their intimate life animated and ultimately determined the roles they played politically.”

Chafe examines the Clintons’ lives from their troubled childhoods through the struggles of a marriage rocked by Bill Clinton’s serial womanizing. He describes how each time Bill got in trouble, Hillary rescued him. When the publicity about his affair with Gennifer Flowers blew up during the 1992 primary campaign, Hillary was rehearsed and ready to join him on national television (Sixty Minutes) to persuade Americans that, although there had been trouble in the past, their marriage was strong and durable.

Why would she do this? Chafe explains, “By doing so, she not only rescued Bill’s candidacy, but ensured that her own power in both the personal and political relationship would increase.”

It was Hilary Clinton’s final and most important rescue that made possible the success of Bill Clinton’s six months of deception. Chafe explains, “After the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, Bill Clinton thought for a brief period he would be forced to resign in disgrace, just as Richard Nixon did in 1974. But for the last time, Hillary came to his rescue, standing by him even after he admitted his guilt and faced impeachment. Only this time, by saving her husband — and their co-presidency — she also liberated herself to become her own person in politics.”

Saving her husband’s presidency, Chafe argues, gave her the freedom to chart her own political course. While the Senate was voting on the impeachment charges brought against her husband, she was meeting with political advisors to plan her campaign for a U.S. Senate seat from New York.

The Clintons’ experience was a rare exception. I agree with Bill Chafe about the general rule: when you get in trouble, stop lying, tell all, all at once.

Note: My conversation with William Chafe about “Bill and Hillary” aired on radio station WCHL and is available for listening here.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage.

This week’s (January 27, 31) guest is Sheila Turnage, author of “Three Times Lucky.”

A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.

What can children and young teens read now that the Harry Potter series has come to an end? Sheila Turnage faces this challenge in “Three Times Lucky” by introducing us to the crime-solving talents of two pre-teens from Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Mo LoBeau is sassy, charming, and smart. She and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, lead Turnage’s readers through a most entertaining murder investigation.

Bookwatch Classics (programs from earlier years) airs Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4).

This week’s (January 30) guest is Orson Scott Card author of “Shadow Puppets.”