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Democrats Still Lead Legislative Generic Ballot

Misconceptions About Education Spending, Low Support for Abolishing ICE, and More
September 20, 2018


RALEIGH, N.C. – A new Civitas Institute statewide poll of likely voters found Democrats currently holding a 6-point lead over Republicans in the generic ballot for North Carolina State Legislature. Despite this lead, Republicans seem to be faring slightly better than they had in a June statewide poll, where they had fallen 8 points behind Democrats.

Q. If the election for North Carolina State Legislature were held today, would you vote for the
Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?
Republican Candidate 36%
Democratic Candidate 42%
Someone else 6%
Undecided 16%

“There seems to be a correlation on the generic ballot test between the amount of time the General Assembly is out of session and how well Republicans fare,” said Civitas President Donald Bryson. “Before this year’s legislative session in May, Republicans had erased the Democrat’s 15-point lead from the previous May. Then as the session began Democrats jumped to an 8-point lead, which is now a 6-point lead as the General Assembly has been out of Raleigh for a couple of months.”

Civitas also polled likely voters on whether they believed the federal government should abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Over two-thirds (67 percent) believe the government should keep ICE, 20 percent stated ICE should be abolished, and 12 percent asserted that they didn’t know or were unsure.

“In comparison to national polls, the Civitas Poll finds North Carolina voters to be more opposed to abolishing ICE than the rest of the country,” continued Bryson.

This statewide poll also revealed a significant chasm between the public’s perception of education spending and actual education spending. When asked, “Do you think North Carolina spends too much, too little, or about the right amount on public education?” 70 percent of those surveyed said too little. However, only 8 percent were able to respond with the correct per pupil spending range, which is $9,000-$10,000. Forty-eight of respondents believed North Carolina spent less than $5,000 per student.

This poll surveyed 500 likely voters in North Carolina. The margin of error is +/- 4.4%. The survey was conducted by Harper Polling between September 4-7, 2018 via mobile and landline telephone interviews by a live caller at a professional call center.

Poll Highlights

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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