Raleigh, N.C. – According to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute, Republican candidate Thom Goolsby is maintaining a wide lead of 17 percent lead over Democratic opponent Jim Leutze in the race for North Carolina’s open 9th District Senate seat.
According to the poll of 350 registered voters in that district, which covers New Hanover County, 55 percent said if the election for state senator were held today they would vote for Goolsby who is looking to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Julia Boseman. Thirty-eight percent of voters said they would vote for Leutze, and seven percent said they are undecided.
When looking at most likely voters in 2010, Goolsby’s lead jumps to a 62 percent-32 percent margin. Additionally, Republicans are backing Goolsby 87 percent-9 percent while unaffiliated voters also support him by a 61 percent-28 percent margin, a six percent increase from May. Democratic voters are supporting Leutze by a 75 percent-20 percent margin.
“Goolsby has maintained his favorable standing with voters and rallied his base Republican vote, including a large majority of unaffiliated voters who are overwhelmingly supporting Republican candidates across the state,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes.
A competitive primary and aggressive campaign appear to have benefitted Goolsby as 63 percent of the district’s voters have an opinion of him (44 percent favorable-19 percent unfavorable), for a net +25 favorable rating. Twenty-seven percent of voters said they are neutral, and 10 percent said they have no opinion on his candidacy.
Conversely, Leutze, former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, has a net zero favorability rating as 23 percent of voters view him both favorably and unfavorably. Thirty-two percent of voters’ opinions are neutral, and 22 percent said they have no opinion on Leutze’s campaign for state senator.
“Leutze’s campaign just hasn’t grabbed hold and engaged voters,” added Hayes. “With the report out recently that the state Democratic Party would not be investing resources in the race, Leutze’s uphill climb just became much steeper.”
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 52 percent-41 percent margin. Republican support for drilling stands at 67 percent-25 percent, while Democratic support decreases to 32 percent-59 percent. Support for drilling off the state’s coast among unaffiliated voters increased 13 percent since May to 62 percent-36 percent.
For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.
The survey of 350 registered voters was taken September 22-23 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.