(The Center Square) – Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd leads Democrat Cheri Beasley by 4% in North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, according to a new poll.
Nearly 47% of 600 likely voters reached in a Civitas Poll conducted Oct. 20-22 said they would vote for Budd “if the general election for U.S. Senate was held today,” compared to 43% who backed Beasley, the state’s former chief Supreme Court justice. Just over 7% remained undecided. The poll’s margin of error is 3.99%.
Budd has been in rally mode since late summer; Beasley hasn’t gained in polling since August.
The results represent a three point improvement for Budd since Civitas’ last poll in September, and align with an overall shift toward Republicans in recent weeks.
The poll found 50.3% of North Carolinians plan to vote for a Republican candidate in their congressional races, while 44.2% plan to vote for Democrats. Last month, 47.5% planned to vote Republican and 44.2% planned to vote Democrat.
It was a similar situation for state legislative races, with 50.1% supporting Republican candidates and 43.9% supporting Democrats, which represents a 3.5-point increase for Republicans and a 0.6-point loss for Democrats over the last month.
The shift is due in large part to independents who now prefer Republicans by 4% after backing Democrats by 6% in September. Worth noting, Republicans have a pattern of out-performing polls for about two decades.
“Although polls are not predictive, these results are not where you want to be if you are a North Carolina Democrat in October,” said John Locke Foundation President Donald Bryson. “While a majority of voters say they will vote for the generic Republican candidate for state Legislature and Congress, a majority also say they’re making the intentional decision to vote to create checks-and-balances for Governor Roy Cooper.”
Over half of voters – 50.6% – told pollsters they would prefer a Democratic governor with a Republican legislature, compared to 39.5% who would prefer full Democratic control.
Republicans are leading by the widest margins in two state Supreme Court races, though the lead is less than the percentage of undecided voters. Republican Trey Allen is leading Democrat incumbent Sam Ervin 49.4% to 42%, with 8.6% undecided, while Republican Richard Dietz leads Democrat Lucy Inman 48.8% to 42.4% with 8.8% undecided.
Democrats have a 4-3 majority on the court.
“These two races will change the face of the court for at least four years,” Bryson said. “All Republicans have to do is win one of the two seats and they are guaranteed a majority through 2027 – if they win both, then the GOP seals a Supreme Court majority through 2028.”
The economy topped the list for the most important issue to voters with 30.8%, followed by abortion as the top issue for 18.3%, and inflation for 14.9%. A total of 87.6% rated the current state of the American economy as either fair or poor, with 53.6% opting for the latter. More than 94% agreed the price of food has gotten more expensive, and 88.5% are concerned about the cost.
Only 38.4% of those polled approved of Biden’s job performance, while 55.3% disapproved. Cooper fared slightly better with 46.4% who approved and 43.5% who disapproved, though 7.9% neither approved nor disapproved and 2.3% were unsure.