Biden, Gov. Cooper have early edge in N.C. election, according to Monmouth University poll

Biden, Gov. Cooper have early edge in N.C. election, according to Monmouth University poll
voting generic (Source: WIS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - According to a poll conducted by Monmouth University, presidential candidate Joe Biden and Gov. Roy Cooper hold a lead among registered voters in North Carolina.

The poll shows that Biden and Donald Trump are separated by a negligible 2-point margin among all registered voters in North Carolina, according to the Monmouth University poll, while the U.S. Senate race is even tighter.

Gov. Roy Cooper, on the other hand, currently enjoys a large lead in his reelection bid on the back of strong voter approval of his handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the poll shows.

Among all registered voters in North Carolina, the race for president stands at 47 percent for Biden and 45 percent for Trump.

NC voter models
NC voter models (Source: Monmouth University)

Another 3 percent support Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian), less than 1% back either Howie Hawkins (Green) or Don Blankenship (Constitution), and 3 percent are undecided. Voter intent includes 41 percent who say they are certain to vote for Biden (versus 44 percent who say they are not at all likely to support the Democrat) and 40 percent who are certain to support Trump (versus 47 percent who are not at all likely).

Under a likely voter scenario with a somewhat higher level of turnout than 2016, Biden stands at 48 percent support and Trump is at 46 percent.

The results are an identical 48 percent to 46 percent when using a likely voter model with lower turnout. Each of the last three presidential elections were decided by fewer than four percentage points in North Carolina.

The two candidates earn similar personal ratings. Biden has a 43 percent favorable to 48 percent unfavorable rating among registered voters, including 35 percent very unfavorable.

By comparison, 46 percent of North Carolina voters have a favorable opinion of Trump and 46 percent have an unfavorable one, including 40 percent very unfavorable.

“North Carolina has been in play for each of the last three presidential elections and it is going to be that way again this year, especially with a pivotal Senate race sharing the ballot,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Trump has solid support among white voters without a college degree (66 percent to 28 percent), while Biden has a narrow edge among white college graduates (4 percent to 42 percent). The Democrat has a large advantage among voters of color (78% to 15% – including an 85% to 10% lead among Black voters in this group).

The race is especially tight in 22 counties where the vote margins were closest in the 2016 presidential election.

The Democrat currently holds an insignificant 48 percent to 46 percent edge among registered voters in these swing counties* where the aggregate vote went to Hillary Clinton by a single point. The poll finds that Biden racks up a 58 percent to 33 percent margin in counties that went solidly for Clinton (by a similar 27 points in 2016). Trump leads in the counties he won handily four years ago (54 percent to 37 percent), but this lead is not quite as large as his 34-point aggregate victory there four years ago.

“An interesting thing about North Carolina is that fewer voters live in swing counties compared with other purple states. One reason Democrats are competitive here is that the core blue areas are strung in a chain across the state rather than clumped in one or two geographic areas,” said Murray.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.