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Biden and Cunningham have slim leads

72% of voters intend to vote in person
August 13, 2020


RALEIGH – With the election 82 days away, the North Carolina electorate appears split between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden in the race for the White House. With 15 electoral votes, North Carolina is considered a key battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

In the latest Civitas Poll, 600 North Carolina likely voters were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today:

US President

Donald Trump (R) 44%
Joe Biden (D) 45%
Jo Jorgensen (L) 2%
Don Blankenship (C) 1%
Howie Hawkins (G) 1%
Undecided 7%

“Looking at eight North Carolina polls, from various groups, since the beginning of July, it looks like President Trump hit the bottom of the trough and is bouncing back,” said Civitas Institute CEO Donald Bryson. “This race will be very, yet unsurprisingly, tight as we head into the fall.”

Voters were also asked about the United States Senate and gubernatorial races:

US Senate

Thom Tillis (R) 38%
Cal Cunningham (D) 41%
Shannon Bray (L) 2%
Kevin Hayes (C) 2%
Undecided 16%

NC Governor

Roy Cooper (D) 49%
Dan Forest (R) 39%
Steven DiFiore (L) 1%
Al Pisano (C) 1%
Undecided 11%

Bryson added, “For a race with an incumbent US Senator, there are still a remarkably high number of undecided voters in this race. Cal Cunningham clearly has an opportunity, and a small lead, unless Tillis moves to set a vision for another six years.”

Respondents were also asked how they intend to vote in the general election.

Voting Method

In person before Election Day 36%
In person on Election Day 36%
By mail 23%

Bryson continued, “As in our May poll, the vast majority of voters (72%) still signal an intent to vote in person, but nearly twice as many voters say they’ll vote by mail. These numbers are key policy details, as the state and county boards of elections need to continue to allocate resources for in-person voting, and not just mail-in ballots.”

Methodology: The sample size for the survey is 600 likely voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is + / – 4.0% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if this survey were repeated, results would not vary from the population by more than 4.0 percentage points 19 times out of 20. Responses were gathered via landline and mobile telephone interviews conducted by live callers at a professional call center. Demographics were adjusted to reflect the population from which the sample was drawn. The survey was conducted August 6 through 10, 2020 by Harper Polling. The total percentages of responses may not equal 100% due to rounding. 

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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