Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report have an in depth poll about the state of the race in North Carolina. It shows a state leaning toward the Democrats but with some hope for Republicans. With just over six weeks to go, the GOP is still playing catch up when time is running short.
In the presidential race, Biden leads Trump by two points. That seems consistent with most polls that have come out recently. The Real Clear Politics average has Biden by .9 and 538 has the race at Biden by 1.1. In other words, he likely has the slightest of edges in the state. According the poll, both Trump and Biden have consolidated their respective bases. The race will hinge on how undecided voters break.
Among the narrow group of swing voters, Donald Trump is underwater by six points, 47-53. Biden has an overall positive approval rating among these voters, 52-46. Those voters prefer Biden’s leadership style by a seven point margin. While those numbers should bode well for Biden, the swings also say the economy is the issue that will most determine their vote. The poll notes that voters trust Trump to handle the economy more than Biden. That’s the GOP’s glimmer of hope.
However, voters prefer Biden on every other top issue. They trust him more to handle the coronavirus, race relations, health care and even criminal justice and policing. If these numbers are right, Republicans pushing law and order down the stretch are barking up the wrong the tree. They should focused on the economy instead.
In the governor’s race, Roy Cooper will likely defeat Dan Forest soundly. He leads by ten right now. Forest has not shown the self-awareness or political skills to make a comeback from this deficit. Instead, he’s still flailing away with his base, pledging to end the mask mandate and depicting it as an individual choice instead of a public health emergency. Cooper could not have drawn a better opponent if he had picked one himself.
In the US Senate contest, Cal Cunningham is holding firm onto his narrow, but consistent lead over incumbent Thom Tillis. Cunningham has run a solid campaign without making any significant missteps. Tillis is still the mediocre politician who lucked into a US Senate seat in 2014. This race isn’t over, but Tillis has not made any substantial inroads into Cunningham’s lead. He’s only benefited from Republicans coming home as the election nears.
The race in North Carolina still favors Democrats. It’s been remarkably stable over the last few months. Biden has maintained a very narrow lead over Trump. Cunningham has maintained a small but significant lead over Tillis. And Roy Cooper is still crushing Dan Forest. There are still enough swing voters for Republicans to make inroads into Democratic leads and might be enough to capture the election, but time is getting short and attitudes seem to be getting baked in. Republicans need to hope that those voters break late and break heavily their way.
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 >