By Kari Travis
Carolina Journal News Service
RALEIGH — Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a razor-thin lead over President Trump among North Carolina voters, a new poll shows.
A Civitas Poll survey released Thursday, Oct. 29, shows Democrat Biden with 47% of the vote, a one-point lead over Republican Trump. The poll surveyed 504 likely voters, and has an error margin of +/-4.37. Responses were gathered via phone Oct. 22-25. Thursday’s Real Clear Politics poll average coincides with the Civitas findings, showing Biden with roughly a one-point lead in North Carolina, well within the margin of error.
“We’re going to have a close race across the state,” said Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University. Cooper provided election commentary Thursday at Civitas Institute’s formal poll presentation.
Nationally, Biden leads Trump in the polls by 7.7 points, according to the latest RCP average.
“The race for the White House runs through the Old North State, and we’re still deadlocked here with Biden and Trump flip-flopping one-point leads since August,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “Unaffiliated voters and seniors have made shifts towards Biden, while conservatives and blue-collar voters have consolidated behind President Trump, which has led to fewer undecideds in a still tight race.”
Female voters are more likely to vote for Biden, the Civitas poll shows, while males are more likely to vote for Trump. Black voters skew heavily toward the Democratic ticket, with 84% of those surveyed saying they’ll probably vote for the former vice president. Fifty-seven percent of white voters say they’ll vote for Trump; 37% say they’ll support Biden.
Among Republicans surveyed, almost 93% say they’ll vote for Trump. Nearly 12% of Democrat respondents and 40% of unaffiliated voters also say they’re voting for the president. On the flipside, just 5% of Republican voters say they’ll vote for Biden, while 83% of Democrats and nearly 47% of unaffiliated voters support the Democratic candidate.
“The big takeaway is “too close to call,” Cooper said Thursday. “This is a purple state. Battleground state. There are some legacy Democrats left in North Carolina.”
Voters on either side of the political debate are unsure of their candidate’s chances, pollsters found. Just 42% of those surveyed think Trump will win, and 44% think the office will go to Biden. Fourteen percent are unsure which candidate has a better shot.
“You talk to strong partisans on either side, and both sides are convinced they’re going to lose,” Cooper said.
As the battle for key swing states continues, both candidates are doubling down on campaign visits days before the Nov. 3 election. Both Biden and Trump visited Pennsylvania on Monday, dueling for voters in the state that Trump narrowly carried in 2016.
Trump will visit North Carolina Thursday, Oct. 29, holding an event at the Fayetteville Regional Airport around 6:30 p.m.
Civitas surveyed voter prospects for other key races in North Carolina, including the U.S. Senate race between Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham. Cunningham received 46% support, three points ahead of Tillis. Cunningham held a notable lead over Tillis in September, with 44% of voters backing the Democratic candidate. Just 38% said they were voting for Tillis at the time. Then, news broke that Cunningham was having an extramarital affair with a California-based campaign strategist.
Cunningham’s lead was cut in half.
“For Tillis to win, it will be critical for him to catch up to President Trump’s partisan loyalty numbers with registered Republicans,” Bryson said.
In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Roy Cooper had a comfortable lead over Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, 52%-42%. Chris Cooper said this lead was consistent with other polling.
An online questioner asked Cooper and Bryson if there was any chance Forest could win. Cooper noted that Appalachian State had beaten the University of Michigan in football, but that it would take an upset of that magnitude for Forest to catch the incumbent.