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Biden with razor thin lead over Trump

Cunningham and Tillis race tightens
October 28, 2020


RALEIGH ­– – Former vice president Joe Biden has a razor thin lead over President Donald Trump according to the latest Civitas Poll. North Carolina is viewed as a toss-up, but a critical state for President Trump’s reelection prospects.

A sample of likely voters were asked, “If the Presidential election were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for?”

Trump (R) 46%
Biden (D) 47%
Jorgensen (L) 1%
Blankenship (CP) 0%
Hawkins (G) <1%
Undecided 6%

“The race for the White House runs through the Old North State, and we’re still deadlocked here with Biden and Trump flip-flopping one-point leads since August,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “Unaffiliated voters and seniors have made shifts towards Biden, while conservatives and blue-collar voters have consolidated behind President Trump, which has led to fewer undecideds in a still tight race.

Likely North Carolina voters were also asked who they intended to vote for in the U.S. Senate race. Some experts speculate that the balance of the United States Senate could hinge on the results of North Carolina’s Senate race and the gap between the two leading candidates has closed considerably in recent weeks.

Senator Thom Tillis’ (R) first term in the Senate has been met with low approval ratings, per Civitas Poll data, however, Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham has faced his own woes as news of potentially multiple extramarital affairs and a U.S. Army Reserve investigation roil a seemingly tranquil campaign.

When asked, “If the US Senate election were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for?”

Tills (R) 43%
Cunningham (D) 46%
Bray (L) 2%
Hayes (CP) 1%
Undecided 7%

Civitas Poll asked likely voters this same question on September 20, 2020, before news of Cunningham’s affair broke. At that time, Cunningham had a sizeable lead over Tillis, with 44% of those stating they’d vote for the former state representative and 38% for the Republican incumbent.

Bryson continued, “While this poll shows Cunningham with a three-point lead, this lead has been halved since our September poll and is now within the margin of error. For Tillis to win, it will be critical for him to catch up to President Trump’s partisan loyalty numbers with registered Republicans.”

Click here to view toplines and limited crosstabs for these questions.

Complete poll results and crosstabs will be released October 29, 2020 at 12 PM (EST).

The balance of the Civitas Poll will be released tomorrow and includes a generic ballot test for the North Carolina General Assembly, the gubernatorial race, and several Council of State races.

METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 504 likely general election
voters in North Carolina and the margin of error is +/-4.37% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if this survey were repeated, results would not vary from the population by more than 4.37 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 October 22-25, 2020 by Harper Polling, a Cygnal company. 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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