I don’t know much about the quality of Emerson College polling, but they’ve released a poll that should have Democrats in North Carolina happy. It shows most Democrats beating Trump, including Biden defeating the president by double digits. It shows a Democrat Erica Smith soundly beating a Republican Thom Tillis for US Senate. And it shows Roy Cooper coasting to re-election.
In the presidential contest, the poll shows Joe Biden with a healthy lead in the Democratic primary. He’s at 39%, Sanders is at 22% and Warren is at 15%. Everyone else is in single digits.
Trump’s approval rating in the state is at an abysmal 41% with 52% disapproving. In head-to-head contests, Biden beats him by twelve points, Sanders tops him by eight, Buttigeig by four and Warren battles him to a draw. The rest of the field is essentially unknown and those are the only people Trump is beating. That’s bad news for every Republican down the ballot.
In the Senate race, Erica Smith, who is surely virtually unknown, defeats Tillis by seven points. That’s a reflection of the state’s view its junior senator and possibly its view of the body as a whole. I suspect numbers like these will entice more people into the Democratic primary.
In the race for governor, Cooper enjoys a comfortable lead with a majority of voters in his camp. He leads Lt. Governor Dan Forest by fourteen points, 52-38. Those are very solid numbers for an incumbent in this political environment.
The crosstabs reveal divisions within the Democratic party that could alter these general election numbers significantly. Among younger voters 18-29, both Sanders and Warren lead Biden. However, Biden leads voters with over 50 years old, by 40 points, 50% to Sanders’ 10%. If Biden gets the nomination, he’ll need to keep those younger voters in the fold and there’s no guarantee they’ll show up in the general election.
Still, this is a good poll for Democrats broadly and Biden and Cooper specifically. It’s also a good poll for Erica Smith, but I believe it says more about Tillis’ vulnerability than her strength since she’s not likely well-known. A lot can and will change over the next year and a half, but there’s a lot of reason for optimism among Democrats right now.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >