Raleigh, N.C. – Republican candidate Rick Gunn holds a narrow, tenuous lead over Democratic incumbent Tony Foriest in the contest for North Carolina’s 24th 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, which covers Alamance and Caswell counties, 46 percent of voters said they would vote for Gunn if the election for state senator were held today. Forty-two percent of voters said they would vote for Foriest, and 7 percent said they would vote for Libertarian candidate Barry Cole. Five percent of voters said they are undecided.
Gunn’s primary support is coming from Republican voters (84 percent-7 percent), along with unaffiliateds by a 45 percent-22 percent margin. Foriest leads Democratic voters by 76 percent-20 percent.
However, a significant gender gap has emerged with Foriest holding a substantial lead among women, 52-36. Gunn, meanwhile, holds a large lead among men voters 59-28.
“With the large demographic split between the two candidates and the potential for the Libertarian to play the role of spoiler, this race is going to come down to the wire,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes. “Although Gunn holds a slim lead right now, both candidates are going to have to pull out all the stops to squeak past the finish line.”
Foriest, currently serving his second Senate term, is relatively well known among voters in the district as 63 percent have an opinion of him (33 percent favorable-30 percent unfavorable), for a net +3 favorable rating. Twenty-eight percent of voters said they are neutral, and 10 percent said they have no opinion of him.
Gunn, a real estate executive, is similarly recognized among voters as 34 percent said they view him favorably, while 24 percent their opinion of him is unfavorable, for a net +10 favorability rating. Thirty-one percent of voters said they are neutral, and 11 percent said they have no opinion of his candidacy.
“With both candidates fairly well known, this race will come down to turnout and those last minute messages to undecided voters,” added Hayes.
Senate District 24 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.
For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.
The survey of 350 registered voters was taken October 4-5 by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Civitas Institute using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) method. It carries a margin of error of +/- 5.3%.
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.