Trump, Biden tied in North Carolina, NewsNation/Emerson poll shows

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(NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are statistically tied in North Carolina in a NewsNation/Emerson poll out Thursday.

With just 19 days until the presidential election, the sample of likely voters in the Tar Heel State puts the two candidates neck and neck, with each polling at 48.9%. 1.6% of others say they are voting for other candidates, and .6 % of voters say they remain undecided.

Among those undecided, they were divided equally as to which candidate they were leaning toward.

Last month, an Emerson/Nexstar Media poll of North Carolina likely voters found the presidential election in a dead heat, with Biden one point ahead of Trump. Back in August, an Emerson Poll showed Trump ahead by two-points with 6% undecided at the time. 

While the southeastern state has a Democratic governor, the state is “purple” and has previously gone to the Republican nominee in 9 of the last 10 presidential elections. 

In rural areas of the state, President Trump leads Biden 63% to 36%. In the suburbs, Biden leads Trump 51% to 46%. And in urban areas of North Carolina, Biden leads 64% to 34%. 

U.S. Senate race

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Cal Cunningham polled statistically even with incumbent Republican Thom Tillis, 45% to 44%. 12% of likely voters polled remain undecided at this time. Unaffiliated voters are breaking for Tillis, 48% to 43%. The race tightened since September, when Cunningham led by 6 points. 

“The Senate race is fundamentally different from the Presidential and Governor races, as it has a higher number of undecided voters,” Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling noted. “It will be interesting to see where these voters end up and how that could impact the other races in the state.”

The  Democratic challenger made headlines at the beginning of October when he admitted to exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a woman who is not his wife. Tillis also made headlines that week when he tested positive for coronavirus after attending the Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the White House Rose Garden for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Tillis was wearing a mask, but many in attendance at the outdoor event were not. 

Among those polled, the majority said that Tillis’ recent COVID-19 diagnosis had no impact on their vote, while 24% said it made it less likely to vote for him, and 13% said it made them more likely to vote for the incumbent. 

Regarding Cunningham’s text messages that revealed he had an extramarital affair, 46% said it had no impact on their vote, and 38% said it made them less likely to vote for him. 12% said it made them more likely to vote for him. 

Race for Governor

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper leads Republican Dan Forest 50% to 46% among likely voters polled, with 4% remaining undecided. Cooper’s lead in the past few weeks has shrunk, as he led by 8 points in the last Emerson/Nexstar poll of the state. 

How the NewsNation/Emerson poll was conducted

The North Carolina Emerson College poll was conducted October 13-14, 2020. The sample consisted of likely Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=721, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, party affiliation, race and region based on 2016 voter turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=277), SMS-to-web texts (n=143), and an online panel provided by MTurk (n=301).

The perception of political polling took a hit after polls in 2016 overestimated support for Hillary Clinton.  As a result, much of the country was surprised when Donald Trump won the election.

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