Civitas has a poll out in the Congressional race between incumbent Republican Ted Budd and Democrat Kathy Manning. The survey shows Budd with a five point lead over Manning with almost 20% undecided. That’s where a challenger wants to be in a race and year like this one. Neither candidate has begun communicating and she’s already in striking distance.

NC-13 is the Republican-held Congressional district that Trump came closest to losing in North Carolina. Budd is a freshman Congressman who won a winner-takes-all primary with about 17 candidates in 2016 and faced underfunded opposition in the November General Election that year. He’s struggled to build name recognition like most freshmen and 36% of his constituents couldn’t rate him.

On the upside for Budd, he has a decent favorability of 39% to only 26% who rate him unfavorably. He also leads among registered unaffiliated voters by two points. And he leads with men by a whopping 14 points, 48-24.

Other than that, the poll shows why this race will be so competitive. While 19% of the electorate is undecided, only 12% of men are and 25% of women have yet to decide. In primaries across the country, women voters have been breaking heavily for women and Manning leads with them by 36-33.

Despite supporting Trump in 2016, the president is underwater in the district with 48% disapproving of his performance and only 44% approving. Women disapprove by 11 points while men approve by four percent, increasing the likelihood that those undecided women will break heavily for Manning. Trump is also underwater with unaffiliated voters by 25%. He could prove to be a drag on the ticket for Budd.

Among the most important issues to voters in the district, healthcare is number one, jobs and the economy is number two and the presidency is number three. Those probably aren’t the issues Budd wants to be talking about. Immigration only ranks high among Republicans and concern about the economy may well reflect the fact that wages are dropping, not rising, despite Republicans’ much touted tax cut. The surging economy is only benefiting the wealthiest Americans so far.

The Civitas poll is better news for Manning than Budd. It shows a highly competitive race with an ill-defined incumbent before either side is communicating. In addition, Manning outraised Budd by 2-to-1 in the second quarter and has substantially more money cash-on-hand. The issues that concern voters most favor Democrats and the president is underwater. Finally, the largest block of undecided voters is women. If they break heavily for Manning, she could steal this seat from Republicans.


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