Poll Alert! (SurveyUSA-Civitas)

by | Mar 25, 2014 | Carolina Strategic Analysis, Features, Poll Analysis, Polling

The Civitas Institute is out with a new poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, which also did a poll for WRAL last week. The results should be pretty similar. The WRAL poll was conducted from the 17th through the 19th of March, while the Civitas poll was conducted from the 19th to the 23rd. Civitas looked at the Supreme Court race, which we won’t cover here, and also the Republican primary, which we’ll take a look at now. It’s an interesting poll and people should take a look at it; there are some interesting findings. The link is here.

Republican primary
(The numbers in parentheses are the differences from the WRAL poll.)
Undecided – 38% (+15)
Tillis – 27% (-1)
Brannon – 13% (-2)
Harris – 9% (+3)
Grant – 5% (-6)
Snyder – 5% (+1)
Bradshaw – 2% (-2)
Alexander – 1% (-6)
Kryn – 0% (-3)

Notice the huge jump in undecided voters. The Civitas poll probably employed a different likely voter screen. Harris also does better here, but this is probably margin of error change. There are big drops in support for Grant and Alexander.

Tillis is taking 27% of the primary vote here. 62% of voters are decided. 27/62 = 43.5, so if undecided voters break down the same way as their decided counterparts, then Tillis will avoid a runoff. But it’s very close, too close for comfort for establishment Republicans. In the event of a runoff, Brannon looks like the most likely foe.

Notice that it appears that the Civitas poll had the names read in the order they will be on the ballot, with Tillis at the top. This did not cause any significant change, but polls who list the names in random order should probably be viewed more skeptically.

Favorable/Unfavorable (Republican primary voters
(First number is net favorability. Second number is difference in net favorability from the WRAL poll.)
Tillis 37/15 (+22) -1
Brannon 24/4 (+20) +4
Harris 18/4 (+14) No Change
Snyder 10/2 (+8) No Change
Grant 10/3 (+7) -4
Alexander 8/4 (+4) -4

Brannon’s support is 4 points higher, Grant’s and Alexander’s 4 points lower. Again, this is probably statistical noise. (Kryn’s favorability rating was not included, apparently because his name recognition was too low).

One thing I noticed – in the Civitas poll, females are 59% of the Republican primary electorate. That seems way too high.

Ideology: 48% of respondents reported themselves as ‘very conservative’ with 32% ‘somewhat conservative’ and only 16% ‘moderate’. That’s to be expected in the present day Republican Party. Interestingly, Tillis has the smallest lead with moderate voters, but again there’s a small sample size.

58% support the Tea Party. 28% do not, and 14% are not sure. 88% have lived in the state for more than 10 years. This could mean that recent migrants to the state skew Democratic, or are younger and less likely to vote in low turnout primaries.

72% say they are pro-life. 25% are pro-choice. That’s an amazing statistic, and why the GOP can’t get away with running a Todd Akin here. When it comes down to it, even a significant minority of Republicans are uncomfortable with prohibiting abortion. I’m surprised that more did not report themselves as undecided on this issue.

There is a consistent pattern emerging: Tillis is short of the 40% threshold, and it’s a 50/50 proposition on whether or not he can get there on May 6th. Should he fail to clear that 40% threshold, he will enter into a runoff with Greg Brannon. Mark Harris, however, is close on his heels, and at 9% does better here than in any recent poll. Harris has a chance to seize second place with a spirited television campaign.


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