Civitas released a new poll yesterday that shows Joe Biden firmly in the lead in the Democratic primary in North Carolina. It also looks at the level of interest in the primary and asks about a battery of questions about issues facing North Carolina voters. Questions about the primary surveys likely Democratic voters but the general issues sections tests registered voters in the state. The poll was done online with no calls. I don’t remember another recent public poll by a reputable pollster using this method but I believe it’s where polling is heading. 

According the poll conducted by Survey USA, Biden leads with 36% and Sanders and Warren are next with 15% and 13% respectively. Harris is at 8% and Buttigieg is at 5% with everybody else at 1% or less. In addition, 51% of respondents say Biden is the candidate most likely to defeat Trump. 

Biden’s support is fueled by African-American and older voters. Fifty-seven percent of black voters support Biden and 45% of voters over 50 years old choose him. Sanders’ support is concentrated among younger voters. He leads Biden by a point, 26-25, among voters under 50 but he only garners 6% among voters over 50. Warren picks up 14% of voters over 50 and leads Sanders 15-12 among women. 

The poll offers interesting insight into the primary electorate. Twenty-one percent think the party message is too far left, but 45% think it’s where it ought to be. The poll doesn’t define what people believe that message to be but it does note that just shy of 50% of the Democratic primary voters think the government is too big and that a solid plurality, 37%, think the next president should try to shrink it. 

In addition, the poll also indicates candidates should focus on Trump. A plurality, 38%, believes the most important job of the next president is to fix the damage done by this one. “Embracing all Americans” comes in second with 16% and reflects Biden’s message of restoring unity. 

In head-to-head questions among registered voters, Biden leads Trump 49-41. Sanders leads by four, 47-43, and Warren leads by 1%. The poll also shows that Michelle Obama would win by seven, 50-43 and Oprah would win by two, 45-43.

The poll also has some warning to Democrats who support Medicare for All. The shows 47% of North Carolina voters think the quality of health care would get worse if “the federal government were in charge of health care for all Americans.” They also believe they would pay more for care and for prescription drugs. 

Biden’s lead seems solid right now, but the election is a long way off. We’ll see three other primary or caucus contests before North Carolina votes on Super Tuesday and the outcome of those races could alter the one here. Barack Obama was still trailing Hillary Clinton at this point in 2008 so a lot can change. Still, Biden’s message seems to be a better fit for North Carolinians than candidates who want a more activist government. 

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