ECU Poll: Biden has 4-point lead over Trump in North Carolina

In August, that same ECU poll of likely voters found Trump leading by 2 percentage points.
Joe-Biden-Charlotte-092320

A recent survey of likely voters in North Carolina found Joe Biden with a four-point lead over President Donald Trump with less than a month to go before the Nov. 3 election.

The poll, conducted Oct. 2-4 and commissioned by researchers at East Carolina University, found Biden leading Trump 50% to 45%. The poll sampled 1,232 likely voters in the state and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.2 percentage points.

The results marked a three-point increase for Biden and a three-point decrease for Trump since the previous ECU poll was conducted in late August, when Trump led 49% to 47%.

Of those who said they intend to vote for either Trump or Biden, 5% said they were still undecided.

Why it matters: North Carolina, with its 15 electoral votes, has emerged in recent years as a battleground state for presidential candidates. As a sign of the state’s importance, both candidates (and their surrogates) have campaigned heavily in North Carolina. Four years ago, Trump edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton in North Carolina by 3.67 percentage points.

The latest poll was conducted days after the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, held Sept. 29 in Cleveland, a televised event that may have swayed some voters, Peter Francia, director of the ECU Center for Survey Research, said in a statement.

“Although debates are rarely, if ever, a consequential factor in election outcomes, President Trump’s very aggressive style…may have backfired on him,” Francia said. “The coronavirus is also dominating news coverage again. As our polling results show, more North Carolina voters disapprove than approve of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.”

In the race to win North Carolina’s women voters, Biden held a double-digit lead, 54% to 42%, according to the ECU poll. Four years ago against Clinton, exit polls indicated that Trump won the state’s female vote 52% to 45%.

 Among men, Trump leads Biden 52% to 46% in the latest poll, although this was down from four years ago when Trump held an 18-point advantage over Clinton, 56% to 38%.

The ECU poll began surveying voters on the same day that Trump announced that he and his wife, Melania Trump, had tested positive for Covid-19, which landed the president in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

As for Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 45% of likely voters in North Carolina said they approve of how the president has managed the nation’s response, versus 52% who said they disapprove. Of those who indicated their approval, aproximately 96% said they intended to vote for Trump, versus 3% of those who disapproved.

Other findings:

  • 47% of likely voters in North Carolina approve of President Trump’s overall job performance, while 51% disapprove.
  • Among individuals without a 4-year college degree, Trump leads Biden 54% to 40%.
  • Among White voters without a 4-year college degree, Trump’s lead is even wider, 67% to 29%.
  • Respondents with a 4-year college degree or higher said they favored Biden over Trump 60% to 38%.

Other races:

  • In the race for the U.S. Senate, Republican Thom Tillis led Democrat Cal Cunningham by a single point, 46% to 45%. (Six percent were undecided or favored another candidate.)
  • In the race for governor, Democrat Roy Cooper held a double-digit advantage over Republican challenger Dan Forest, 53% to 40% (Six percent were undecided or favored another candidate.)

Glenn Burkins
Glenn is founder and publisher of Qcitymetro.com. He's worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte Observer.

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