Civitas Poll: Undecided Dominates Democratic Field

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Raleigh, N.C. – The race for the Democratic nomination for US Senate continues to remain wide open according to a new poll released today by the Civitas Institute with an overwhelming majority of voters undecided just ten weeks from the Primary.

Democratic and unaffiliated voters who are likely to vote in 2010 were asked their preference between Elaine Marshall, Cal Cunningham and Ken Lewis in the race to take on incumbent US Senator Richard Burr (R).  Of the 367 voters surveyed, 14 percent chose Marshall, 5 percent chose Lewis and 4 percent chose Cunningham.  Of the remaining voters who were polled, 77 percent of them said they were not sure.

“We’ve seen very little change in the candidate’s standing since our last poll in January,” said Civitas Institute Executive Director Francis De Luca.  “The first candidate to make a large media purchase is going to gain an upper hand.”

The number of unsure voters is up slightly from last month as no candidate has yet earned solid frontrunner status.

Among Democratic voters only, Marshall’s support grows to 17 percent. Lewis and Cunningham are tied at 5 percent.  Marshall also leads among those voters most likely to vote in 2010.

“It’s somewhat surprising that Marshall doesn’t have a larger lead given that she has been elected statewide three times,” added De Luca.

Marshall’s lead also expands among voters who describe themselves as liberals, which tend to make up the base of the Democratic Party’s primary voters.

(Please note that the sample for the survey is of likely General Election voters and may not be fully indicative of that voter participating in a Democratic primary.)

The Civitas Poll is the only monthly live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. Civitas will host its monthly poll luncheon on Wednesday, January 27 at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Raleigh.  For more polling information on Civitas polling see

Full text of question:

(Of Democrats and Unaffiliateds Only): If the Democratic Primary for US Senate were held today, would you be voting for Elaine Marshall, Cal Cunningham or Kenneth Lewis?

Marshall – 14%
Cunningham – 4%
Lewis – 5%
Not Sure – 77%

Click here for full results and crosstabs.

This poll of 600 likely general election voters (367 Democrats and Unaffiliateds) in North Carolina was conducted Feb. 15-18 by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters we interviewed had to have voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in either the 2004, 2006 or 2008 general elections or were newly registered voters since 2008.


This article was posted in Press Releases by Chris Hayes on February 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM.

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