Poll Shows Big Democratic Lead in North Carolina

A new poll out of North Carolina suggests voters in the swing state are leaning toward Democratic candidates in three critical races, including the battle for the White House.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 7 percentage points in the key battleground state of North Carolina, a new poll shows, and a Republican senator is also in danger of being unseated by his Democratic challenger.

According to the NBC News/Marist poll released Monday, the former vice president has the support of 51% of registered voters in the Tar Heel State, compared to 44% who said they would vote for President Trump.

North Carolina, which is one of the crucial swing states Republicans need to win to keep control of the White House and Senate this year, went for Trump in the 2016 election by about 3 percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton.  

In June, the Republican National Committee canceled most of its planned convention in Charlotte because Trump refused to abide by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s suggested safety protocols for mitigating the spread of coronavirus. 

Cooper announced last month that a full-scale convention in the state would not be possible and Trump responded via Twitter that the GOP would be forced to seek a new location — a proposition welcomed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. However, the planned Jacksonville convention has since been dramatically scaled down amid a surge in virus cases.

When NBC/Marist pollsters asked North Carolinians about the issue, 61% said state leaders were right to prioritize health protocols for large gatherings over the president’s demands. In contrast, only 32% of respondents said Trump was right to move the convention.

Of those polled, 54% disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president, and just 40% said they approved.

Like most elections this year, a closely watched U.S. Senate race is largely centered around the response to the coronavirus crisis as well as taxes. According the poll, Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham has taken the lead over Republican incumbent Senator Thom Tillis by 9 points. 

TV channels across North Carolina have been plastered with ads in the battle for the Senate seat, which is crucial to Democrats’ hopes of taking control of the upper chamber in November.

Monday’s poll shows that Cunningham has the backing of 50% of voters, while Tillis, a stalwart Trump supporter, trails at 41%.

In addition, Governor Cooper is running in a race of his own, and according to the poll the incumbent is up 20 points over his Republican opponent and current lieutenant governor, Dan Forest, in his bid for reelection. In North Carolina, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately instead of being paired on the same ticket.

Cooper, who has been governor since 2017, and Forest are sparring over how the state should handle the Covid-19 pandemic. If the election were held today, 58% of registered voters said they would vote to keep Cooper, while 38% would cast ballots for Forest. 

The survey of 1,067 adults was conducted from July 14 to 22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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