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Cooper’s lead over Forest grows

Voters don't support court-packing
October 29, 2020


RALEIGH ­– Governor Roy Cooper’s (D) lead over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) has increased since last month, according to the latest Civitas Poll. The survey, conducted between October 22-25, 2020, finds Cooper with a 10 point advantage over Forest. Likely voters were asked, “If the election for North Carolina Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for?”

Cooper (D) 52%
Forest (R) 42%
DiFiore (L) 1%
Pisano (CP) <1%
Undecided 4%

“Gov. Cooper continues to have a commanding lead in this race, which is surprising considering the national spotlight that has been on North Carolina this year,” said Civitas Institute President Donald Bryson. “Lt. Governor Forest has been trailing President Trump in party loyalty among Republicans, as well as senior citizens. Those two data sets seem to be the tipping point in this race.”

Likely voters were also asked who they intended to vote for in several other statewide races:

Lt. Governor

Mark Robinson (R) 43%
Yvonne Lewis Holley 46%
Undecided 10%

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice

Paul Newby (R) 40%
Cheri Beasley (D) 49%
Undecided 11%

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction

Catherine Truitt (R) 42%
Jen Mangrum (D) 45%
Undecided 13%

North Carolina Treasurer

Dale Folwell (R) 43%
Ronnie Chatterji 44%
Undecided 13%

In addition to political races, North Carolinians were asked what they thought about Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation. Despite partisan leanings, a narrow majority of voters favored now-Justice Barrett’s confirmation, with 51% expressing support (41% said she should not be confirmed and 7% were unsure or refused).

Those surveyed were then asked if they believed Democrats should expand the Supreme Court to include more than nine justices, should Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed before the election and assuming Democrats go on to win the presidency and Senate:

Should increase the size of the Supreme Court 28%
Should not increase the size of the Supreme Court 58%
Unsure/Refused 14%

Bryson continued, “Despite plenty of media coverage and rhetoric, it appears that the majority of North Carolinians not only support the confirmation of Justice Barrett, they also want the court to stay as it is.”

Opposition to court-packing was nearly unanimous among key demographics, to include moderates and unaffiliated voters. Only Democratic and self-identifying liberal voters expressed support for increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

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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