CNN (conducted through the SSRS statistical firm; 9/9-13; 787 NC likely voters; live interview through landline and mobile phones) just completed a new Tar Heel State survey and finds Joe Biden topping President Trump, 49-46%, which is statistically within the polling margin of error. The data tracks with other published polls and actually places both candidates in position to win the state. North Carolina, however, is a must-win domain for President Trump.
The aforementioned CNN survey (see North Carolina President above) also tested the combative US Senate campaign between first-term incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D). While Mr. Cunningham has established leads throughout the summer and into September, CNN finds the race again closing to a virtual tie. According to their result, Mr. Cunningham’s lead has dropped to a single percentage point, 47-46%.
Again, the aforementioned CNN survey (see North Carolina President above) also examined the state’s gubernatorial campaign between first-term incumbent Roy Cooper (D) and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R). The CNN data confirms all other polling that gives Governor Cooper, who also won four statewide elections as state Attorney General, a substantial advantage. On the ballot test, Gov. Cooper is staked to a 53-44% margin over Mr. Forest.
Pollsters are active across the country in testing political campaigns and seem to be routinely delivering starkly different results for the same contests over a similar time frame. We have four such examples in Senate races.
Three different pollsters tested the Arizona Senate race between appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R) and retired astronaut Mark Kelly (D). While the three polling firms active during the first week of September all find Mr. Kelly leading, the point spread ranges from six all the way to 17 points. The high pollster for Kelly is Fox News (8/29-9/1; 772 AZ likely voters) and the six-point low is Democratic pollster Change Research (9/4-6; 470 AZ likely voters).
Four pollsters were testing Michigan in early September, and the spread here ranges from a one-point deficit for Republican businessman John James opposite Sen. Gary Peters (D) to a dozen percentage points. Here, the most favorable James pollster is the Republican Tarrance Group (9/1-3; 569 MI registered voters) and the strongest Sen. Peters’ survey comes from the London, England based Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 967 MI likely voters).
The Minnesota race between Sen. Tina Smith (D) and former US Rep. Jason Lewis (R) is attracting more attention. Three survey research firms were conducting polls in early September and found Sen. Smith’s advantage extending between two and eleven points. The high Smith poll came from Survey USA (9/4-7; 553 MN likely voters) and the best for Mr. Lewis is from Republican Harper Polling (8/30-9/1; 501 MN likely voters).
North Carolinians are regularly polled, and the beginning of September is no exception. Again, brandishing wide ranges, seven surveys and/or iterations within such were conducted during the same time frame, and the margin stretches between an even race for Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and former state Senator Cal Cunningham (D) to a ten-point spread. The even poll came from Monmouth University’s (8/29-9/1; 401 NC likely voters) low turnout model (but the high turnout model suggested only a two-point difference), while the high spike came for Mr. Cunningham from Redfield & Wilton Strategies (8/30-9/3; 951 NC likely voters).
As is seemingly typical in North Carolina campaign years, polling in the Tar Heel State appears inconsistent. Again, we see two pollsters simultaneously in the field arriving at much different results. Fox News released their latest NC survey (8/29-9/1; 722 NC likely voters) that projects Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham leading Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, 48-42%. Conversely, East Carolina University, in the field during the same period (8/29-30; 1,101 NC likely voters), forecasts a 44-44% tie in the Senate race.
Presidential numbers are also diverse. Fox finds Joe Biden leading President Trump, 50-46%, while ECU sees a 49-47% Trump edge. The result diversity is another indication that the North Carolina presidential race is a toss-up, and that Mr. Cunningham likely enjoys a slight lead in the Senate campaign. Both races, however, should be considered within the polling margin of error.
Further signs are occurring showing the presidential race getting closer. Democratic pollster Change Research just released a series of surveys in six crucial 2020 swing states, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, during the August 21-23 period with sample sizes ranging from a low of 344 likely voters in Arizona to a high of 1,262 similarly chosen poll participants in Florida.
While CR projects former Vice President Joe Biden to be leading in all six states, at least four of which (AZ, FL, NC, and either MI, PA, or WI) are must-wins for President Trump, the Democratic nominee’s lead has dwindled to between one and six points in all of these places.
Since the middle of June, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, a former state Senator, has been leading the North Carolina Senate race polling. This, in a state that has defeated more incumbent Senators than any other in the modern political era. The new Morning Consult Tar Heel State survey (8/14-23; 1,541 NC likely voters; online through a pre-determined sampling universe) finds Mr. Cunningham leading Sen. Tillis, 47-39%.
The Morning Consult survey is the 24th poll taken of the NC race since mid-June, the last time that Sen. Tillis led in a poll. Among these 24, Mr. Cunningham led in 21 surveys from between three and 16 points. Three of the surveys found the two candidates tied. By contrast, in the last seven North Carolina polls, President Trump has led in four with one tie. Mr. Trump did trail, however, 46-49%, in this same Morning Consult survey.
Democratic US Senate nominee Cal Cunningham, a former state Senator, has been consistently leading in recent polling against first-term Sen. Thom Tillis (R), and the new East Carolina University poll (8/12-13; 1,255 NC registered voters; 879 through Interactive Voice Response systems, and 376 from an online panel) continues the trend. The ECU numbers find Mr. Cunningham holding a 44-40% lead over Sen. Tillis, while the same sample finds President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden tied with 47% apiece in a state where winning is critically important the former man’s national prospects.
Emerson College Polling released a series of surveys conducted over the August 8-10 period in four presidential swing states, and in each case the results seem to cut against the average trend. In Pennsylvania (843 likely voters) and Arizona (861 likely voters), Emerson projects former Vice President Joe Biden to be running well ahead of the margin he has been posting lately. Both states showed a seven-point spread with no undecided voters. The Emerson pollsters often push respondents for a choice between major party candidates, which eliminates the undecided category.
In North Carolina (873 likely voters) and Minnesota (733 likely voters), President Trump is performing better than the average, leading in the Tar Heel State by one percentage point, and trailing in Minnesota by just two points. The latter number is significantly below the 8.6% Biden average spread determined from the last five Minnesota published polls prior to Emerson’s release.
Four-term North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) is in a tight race with former state Supreme Court judge Pat Timmons-Goodson (D) according to a new poll. A brilliant corners Research & Strategies survey (7/23-30; 800 NC-8 likely voters) finds the Congressman’s lead at only 43-41% in his re-drawn district under the court-ordered new congressional map. The Congressman, however, holds a $1.77 million to $619,000 cash-on-hand advantage.
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