New poll: Presidential race ‘extremely competitive’ in NC, but Trump running behind with two key groups

Ahead of Tuesday’s first presidential debate, a new Meredith College poll shows Joe Biden and Donald Trump essentially tied in North Carolina (45.7-45.4%) with just six percent of those surveyed saying they are undecided.

It should come as no surprise that Republicans strongly support four more years of Trump, with Democrats showing just as much enthusiasm for Biden.

The poll shows Trump leading among white voters, males, rural North Carolinians and those with less than a bachelor’s degree.

Biden leads among voters of color (+62.1% for Black voters), women (+10.5%), urban voters (+17.5), those with college degrees, and among Millennial and GenX voters.

Meredith College Poll Director David McLennan lays out the race this way:

“North Carolina is shaping up to be the key battleground everyone thought it would be heading into the election cycle. Although Trump has gained some ground in key groups like Hispanic voters, he is running behind Biden among suburban voters and women voters, two key groups that will determine the outcome of the presidential race in North Carolina.”

Down ballot, the U.S. Senate race may also be too close to call. The Meredith Poll shows Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham with a slim 1.3 percent lead over incumbent Republican Thom Tillis.  Almost twelve percent of those surveyed remain undecided in the Senate race.

Governor Roy Cooper appears to have more breathing room in his contest against Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest.

Cooper is currently besting Forest 49.6-39.3% with eight percent undecided.

“The election is about the governor’s response to the pandemic and, as long as most citizens in the state seem to approve how the governor has handled that, it makes Dan Forest’s task very difficult,” explained McLennan.

Voters in the latest poll are also voicing confidence in the vote. Almost 80 percent of likely voters saying they are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that the vote count will be accurate in 2020.

And while absentee voting and early voting are popular this year, more than one-quarter of voters plan on casting their ballot on Election Day.

The online poll sampled 705 voters September 18-22 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.  Find the full results here.

One Comment

  1. Stewart

    September 28, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    And the problem with this analysis is that the Senate race numbers would tend to indicate that this poll is something of an outlier. All other recent polls are putting Cunningham at 4-10 points ahead of Tillis. It’s also telling that Meredith is still using a registered voter screen at a time when all other pollsters have switched to a likely voter screen. The simple fact is that this is not a reliable measure of any of the NC races on its own. If you want to know how the race is really going, look to 538 for a proper polling average. There you’ll find that Cunningham is up by 2.4% in the average and Biden is up by 1.1%. While that can certainly be pegged as “competitive” it also shows a certain weakness in the GOP’s numbers that is unlikely to be altered in the next few weeks, especially since absentee ballots are already being returned in significant numbers, locking those votes in.

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