Raleigh, N.C. – Republican candidate Thom Goolsby leads Democratic opponent Jim Leutze by 18 percentage points in the battle for North Carolina’s 9th Senate District seat according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.
According to the poll of 350 registered voters in that district, 55 percent said that if the election for state senator were held today they would vote for Goolsby who is hoping to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Julia Boseman. Thirty-seven percent said they would vote for Leutze, and 8 percent said they were undecided.
Goolsby has benefited from increased name recognition from the primary race against Republican challenger Michael Lee. Forty-five percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Goolsby. Nineteen percent view him unfavorably and 27 percent said their opinion was neutral, giving Goolsby a net +26 favorability rating when subtracting his favorability rating from his unfavorable rating.
Leutze, former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, is seen favorably by 18 percent of voters. Sixteen percent said they have an unfavorable opinion, and 34 percent said they are neutral, for a net +2 favorability rating.
“Goolsby has been able to translate the competitive primary race into solid standing with voters across the political spectrum,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “This race goes to show, a good strong primary is not always a bad thing.”
Enabling Goolsby to jump out to his large lead are unaffiliated voters, a group he leads over Leutze by a 55 percent-29 percent margin. Despite what many felt was a rough primary, the hard feelings seem short lived as Goolsby has the support of 92 percent of Republican voters.
“Undoubtedly, this race will tighten as Election Day grows nearer. Goolsby is enjoying a bit of a bounce right now, but as Leutze begins to ramp up his campaign activity, the polling will probably close a bit,” added Hayes. “But right now, Goolsby is off to a very strong start.”
Senate District 9 is rated as an R+3 district on Civitas’ North Carolina Partisan Index – an index that rates the relative partisan voting habits of individual legislative districts. For more on the NCPI, click here.
Meanwhile, voters in the district continue to support drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of North Carolina by a 51-40 margin. Republican support for drilling stands at 76-18 percent while Democratic support drops to 27-58 percent. Unaffiliated voter support is 49-46 percent n favor of oil and natural gas exploration off the state’s coast.
For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.
The survey of 350 registered voters was taken May 15-17 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Civitas Institute using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) method. It carries a margin of error of 4.9%.
This SurveyUSA poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. Where necessary, responses were weighted according to age, gender, ethnic origin, geographical area and number of adults and number of voice telephone lines in the household, so that the sample would reflect the actual demographic proportions in the population, using most recent U.S. Census estimates. In theory, with the stated sample size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. These include refusals to be interviewed, question wording and question order, weighting by demographic control data and the manner in which respondents are filtered (such as, determining who is a likely voter). It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. Fieldwork for this survey was done by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ.