Raleigh’s Meredith College (9/29-10/7; 998 NC registered voters) finds a typically close race developing for the North Carolina Senate seat. Here, Sen. Thom Tillis (R) is in a dogfight with both state Sen. Erika Smith (D-Gaston) and former state Sen. Cal Cunningham (D). When each is paired with the Senator, both candidates received 33% support. Not surprisingly, we will again see a close US Senate race emerge here in 2020.
North Carolina voters also like to change Senators. Since 1974, only two Senate incumbents seeking re-election, Sens. Jesse Helms (R) and Richard Burr (R), won. This contrasts to eight Senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, who did not serve a second term, six of whom were defeated for re-election.
The aforementioned Meredith College North Carolina survey (9/29-10/7; 998 NC registered voters) reports a positive result for first-term Governor Roy Cooper (D) who will stand for a second term next year. The Meredith data yields a 46-33% margin in the Governor’s favor. In this poll, he was paired with the likely GOP 2020 gubernatorial nominee, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R).
Unlike North Carolina Senators who have a high political mortality rate, the Governors fare much better. Since 1980, when NC Governors were first allowed to run for more than one term, just one state chief executive, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) in 2016, was denied a second term.
Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling (10/4-6; 410 NC likely Democratic primary voters) just released their new North Carolina Democratic survey, and it finds former Vice President Joe Biden enjoying a substantial advantage. According to the PPP results, Mr. Biden records 39% support as compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posting 22% preference.
Under the Democratic National Committee delegate apportionment formula these are the only two candidates who would receive convention votes from this state. Mayor Pete Buttigieg places third with 9% and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gets only 6% of the respondents. A candidate must score 15% of the primary vote to qualify for at-large delegates. North Carolina is joining the Super Tuesday primary on March 3rd.
GOP nominees won both special congressional elections last night, as state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) and state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) each overcame their Democratic opposition.
Mr. Murphy, as expected, easily won the 3rd District seat, 62-37%, and will succeed the late Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. (R-Farmville). He defeated former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas (D) in taking 16 of the district’s 17 counties.
The 9th District was a battleground that saw more than $10 million expended by both sides. Sen. Bishop scored a hard fought 50.7 – 48.7% victory over Democratic businessman Dan McCready even though the Republican nominee was outspent. In addition to spending over $5 million from his campaign committee for the special election, Mr. McCready had raised and spent over $6 million for the 2018 general election in a campaign that ended with a disputed result. For his part, Sen. Bishop raised and spent just over $2 million but was aided by the majority of outside spending.
Because of voter fraud allegations in Bladen County during the 2018 contest, the North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify the results; hence, the need for this special election. For the first time in this Congress, all 435 seats are filled, though that will only last until later this month when Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) resigns due to family issues.
After just releasing their 3rd District poll two days ago, RRH Elections publicized their 9th District survey in anticipation of next Tuesday’s special election. The survey (8/26-28; 500 NC-9 likely special election voters) finds Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) holding a slight 46-45% lead over his Democratic opponent, businessman Dan McCready, but the margin extends to 48-41% among those who say they have already cast their ballot under the state’s early voting system.
Not surprisingly, Sen. Bishop is getting 90% of the poll respondents who said they have a favorable opinion of Mr. Trump, while Mr. McCready is garnering an 89% support factor from those in the sample who have a negative impression of the President.
A just-released RRH Elections survey (8/26-28; 500 NC-3 likely special election voters) finds Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy (R-Greenville) holding a 51-40% lead over his Democratic opponent, former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, as the September 10th special election quickly approaches. The seat is heavily Republican, so Mr. Murphy is the clear favorite and could easily exceed this polling margin.
Harper Polling released a rare poll (8/26-28; 551 NC-9 registered voters) for the upcoming September 10th special election congressional campaign in south-central North Carolina. According to the results, Democrat Dan McCready would lead Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), 46-42% on the first ballot test. When leaners are prodded for a response, the totals increase to 49-44%. We could be headed for a very tight race next week. This polling sample contained 56% female respondents suggesting a slight Democratic skew. Reports suggest that internal numbers from both parties project a tight finish.
Public Policy Polling tested the North Carolina Senate Republican primary (8/19-20; 564 NC likely Republican primary voters) and found incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis leading businessman Garland Tucker by an unimpressive margin. The survey results found Mr. Tillis leading only 38-31% in a state that has a penchant for defeating its US Senators. Since the 1974 election, only Senators Jesse Helms (R) and Richard Burr (R) have successfully been re-elected. Democrats are coalescing around former state Sen. Cal Cunningham as their prospective nominee. The North Carolina primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.
Harper Polling conducted a statewide North Carolina survey (8/1-4; 500 NC likely voters) for the North Carolina-based Civitas Institute, individually pairing Gov. Roy Cooper (D) with three potential Republican opponents for next year’s gubernatorial election. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R), who is an announced gubernatorial candidate and commonly viewed as the leading Republican, would trail Gov. Cooper 48-36% in the general election ballot test. State Rep. Holly Grange (R-Wilmington) fares worse against Mr. Cooper, behind 48-30%. Finally, former Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who lost his re-election bid to Mr. Cooper in 2016 and is not a candidate in 2020, would trail 47-38%.
While Gov. Cooper fails to reach 50% support under any scenario, he’s close, and the consistency of his standing suggests that he is in strong position for re-election. At this early point in the election cycle, the Governor must be considered a clear favorite to win a second term next year.
Businessman Garland Tucker, who is challenging Sen. Thom Tillis in the North Carolina Republican primary, released an internal campaign poll that shows a closing race. According to a Diversified Research survey taken earlier this month and now publicly released (7/8-9; 500 NC likely Republican primary voters), Sen. Tillis would maintain only a 40-30% lead over Mr. Tucker.
The Tucker campaign also reported that the survey found Sen. Tillis’ favorability index to only be 52:30% positive to negative among the tested Republican primary voters. Like three other states that have scheduled their primaries for March 3rd, North Carolina will also choose their full slate of nominees. So, this Senate primary challenge will have a rather short nomination cycle.
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