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Barringer and Alexander Lead in Latest Civitas Poll

Legislative Republicans more trusted to handle policies affecting economy
October 15, 2018


RALEIGH, N.C. – In a one-of-its-kind North Carolina State Senate poll, Civitas has found that the Republican candidates in districts 17 and 18 have significant leads over their Democrat and Libertarian opponents among registered voters.

In Senate District 17, incumbent Tamara Barringer (R – Wake) is currently leading challenger Sam Searcy (D) 48 to 36, well outside the margin of error. Bruce Bassoon, the Libertarian candidate, has 4 percent support and 13 percent remain undecided. The Civitas Partisan Index rates this district as R+3.

The Senate District 18 race, however, has the two leading candidates polling slightly closer to one another.  John Alexander (R – Wake), currently the senator for District 15, is leading with 44 percent, followed by Mack Paul (D) at 36 percent, Brad Hessel (L) with 3 percent, while 17 percent remain undecided. The Civitas Partisan Index rates this district as R+2.

Senate District 18 was recently redrawn and the seat is currently occupied by Chad Barefoot (R), who still resides in the district but last year announced his plan to retire.

“Democrats have made no secret that Republican-held seats in Mecklenburg and Wake counties are high priority targets, and that has been common knowledge in North Carolina politics,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “The fact that both of these Wake County districts show Republican leads outside of the margin of error in October should give Democrats heartburn going into the final weeks before November 6.”

Registered voters included in this survey were also asked a number of other questions, such as the top issue for state government to tackle this upcoming year, as well as which party they trusted to handle policies that impact jobs and the economy.

In both districts, a plurality of voters stated that they trusted Republicans to handle policies affecting jobs and the economy in North Carolina more than Democrats:

Senate District 17
Republicans   50%
Democrats     40%
Not Sure         10%

Senate District 18
Republicans     48%
Democrats        42%
Not Sure            11%

Bryson continued, ”Republicans could be benefitting from positive economic conditions in the Triangle. Both districts take up significant portions of Wake County, which is enjoying an unemployment rate of 3.4%, below the national and state rates. District 18 also goes into Franklin County, which has a higher unemployment rate, at 4.0%, but that rate has fallen a full percentage point in the past 12 months.”

Complete poll results and crosstabs can be found here:
SD 17
SD 18

Conducted by SurveyUSA, each of these polls surveyed 400 registered voters between 10/03-10/08 using a blended sample, mixed mode method. The margin of error is +/- 6.3% and 6%, respectively.

For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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