McCrory Tops Budd In GOP Primary Poll Of 2022 U.S. Senate Race

File photo of former governor and current candidate for U.S. Senate, Pat McCrory. Carolina Journal Photo

By David Bass
Carolina Journal

Former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory is the preferred choice for the state’s U.S. Senate seat in 2022, according to a Civitas Poll of likely GOP primary voters released Thursday, Jan. 13.

McCrory, a Republican, leads the primary field with 24% of the vote, compared to 19% for 13th congressional district Rep. Ted Budd and 7% for former 6th congressional district Rep. Mark Walker. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The general election for the Tar Heel State’s Senate seat is expected to be one of the most competitive of 2022 and could decide the balance of power in that chamber. The seat is open due to the retirement of incumbent U.S. Sen Richard Burr.

In the poll, McCrory makes a strong showing in three of four major regions across the state, with 24% support in the Triangle, 27% on the coast, and 27% in Charlotte. The only area in which Budd comes out on top is central North Carolina, with 28% support. All four regions have a high undecided rate, ranging from 35% in the central portion of the state to 57% in the Triangle.

“This poll shows that there are two very different paths to victory for the McCrory and Budd campaigns,” said Donald Bryson, president of the John Locke Foundation. “Budd’s path is more straightforward: He needs the field to narrow. McCrory, on the other hand, with better name recognition, needs his campaign to begin putting lead on target, specifically Ted Budd himself and core conservative issues like border security and election security.”

The results of the new survey show that former President Trump’s influence in the race is strong but not overwhelming. Even with Trump’s endorsement landing in June, Budd has been unable to overtake McCrory in the polls. Asked how Trump’s endorsement of a U.S. Senate candidate would impact their vote, 50% of GOP primary voters said they would definitely or probably vote for Trump’s pick, while 37% said they would keep an open mind.

Dr. Michael Bitzer, professor of politics and history at Catawba College in Salisbury, predicted that Trump’s influence will be a significant factor as the race heads into the home stretch.

“I’d expect to see Budd publicize Trump’s endorsement to the hilt —t hat’s likely the type of GOP primary voter that will be out there,” Bitzer told Carolina Journal. “McCrory’s name recognition and previous runs certainly are a fundamental advantage to him, but my question continues to be how loyal will this GOP primary electorate be towards Trump?”

Dr. Andy Taylor, a political science professor at N.C. State University in Raleigh, noted that half the Republican electorate is still undecided in the race. “There is plenty of room for things to change, clearly,” he said.

When it comes to a possible presidential primary in 2024, Trump remains the runaway favorite among Republican voters. Forty-seven percent said they would vote for the former president over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (19%), former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (8%), or former Vice President Mike Pence (5%).

The Civitas poll unearthed several other key data points. Asked whether the U.S. is headed in the right or wrong direction, nine out of 10 GOP primary voters checked “wrong direction.” Eighty-one percent disapprove of the job that the U.S. Congress is doing.

GOP primary voters also expressed concerns over election integrity. Asked, “Do you believe the November 2022 general elections will be free and fair?” 49% said “no,” 21% “yes,” and 31% were unsure.

The poll was conducted by Cygnal and queried 600 likely voters Jan. 7-9.


  1. No more RINOs! A vote for McCrory is like voting for Tillis… will side with the dems on every vote! NC needs and deserves better.

  2. I plan to vote for McCrory because I think he will be the strongest in November. Republicans ,conservatives and moderates need to unite behind the GOP nominee for I think any of these candidates will protect the constitution from the crazy ideas of the “woke” left.

    • Have you not realized the GOP votes with the crazy left most the time! We need to unite behind people who are not politicians but seek to serve the people not the industries and government cronies. We need America First patriots not just another failed politician only in it for their own fame and fortune.

  3. Pres. Ronald Reagan: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally-not a 20 percent traitor.” This country needs true statesmen again who at least respect all views and seek commonsense solutions.The extreme right and left on the political spectrum need to realize that politics is really the art of compromise.

  4. Historically, while the most right wing GOP candidate will win the Primary, Only a fiscally conservative, Social Moderate candidate will win the General election in November. McCrory is more likely to get the Moderate Dem’s and Independents votes that Budd wouldn’t otherwise get. Those are the ones needed to win.

  5. Do any of you remember the days of yesteryear when at P.E. you actually were outside to play some type of a ball game and you and along with a hand full of others were the last to be picked for the team? It wasn’t that we were not smart kids, however we were not fit for the prime positions. I have voted for Pat McCory and in an election of having no other choice would probaly do so again. Deep down in this decaying society that we have left, I know it will be a vote for a man that will be what ever he has to be at the moment in time to preserve the establishment that has with so much hatred and disrespect despises us putting the first outsider into the Oval Office. The charges that the DOJ placed against American Citizens this week of Seditious Conspiracy charges are as factually as you will ever see where we are heading. My question, is Pat McCory the man you want fighting to save your Life, Liberty and Freedom?

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