Another poll is out showing Linda Coleman leading George Holding in the race for NC-02. That’s the third poll that has her leading the incumbent Congressman. Yesterday’s Civitas poll gives Coleman a one-point lead. They’re all within the margin of error, though, so the race should be considered tied.
Holding’s district is an example of what Donald Trump has done to the Republican Party. It also shows the polarization and partisanship facing campaigns this cycle. The political realignment happening in the country is no more clear than it is here.
The district was drawn to ensure a Republican held the seat. It’s evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans with unaffiliated voters making up about 30% of the district. It’s about 60% suburban with the remainder split between urban and rural areas. The suburban unaffiliated voters traditionally voted Republican because of lower taxes and less government, but, now, they’re abandoning Holding.
According to the poll, both sides have consolidated their bases. Eighty-four percent of registered Democrats say they’re voting for Coleman, while 80% of Republicans say they support Holding. Self-identified Democrats support Coleman with 91% and self-identified Republicans favor Holding with 84%.
Registered unaffiliated voters back Coleman by 12 points. Those are the voters that should make the district favor the GOP. They’re not.
Educated voters, who make up just over half the district, support Coleman 50-42. Suburban voters back her by 49-41. And there’s a 15 point gender gap with women supporting Coleman by eight points and men supporting Holding by seven.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is pulling Holding down. Only 40% of the voters in the district approve of the job Donald Trump is doing while 54% percent say they don’t approve. Among unaffiliated voters, he’s underwater by 30 points. Among suburban voters, it’s 24 points.
Holding’s actually got a positive approval rating of 41-29, but, at least at this point, the election is more about Trump than Holding. That’s usually the case in midterm elections, especially Blue Moon elections in North Carolina. Holding may need to figure out how to separate himself from the president.
NC-02 shows how Trump is damaging the GOP. They’re still moderately conservative, supporting the tax bill by five points, but educated and suburban voters are abandoning Republicans. They might like their taxes low, but they don’t have any use for somebody who embarrasses the country and degrades the presidency. And they probably aren’t going to tolerate Members of Congress who accommodate him instead of holding him accountable.
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 >